Bosnian Serbs reportedly began a major assault on Muslims in the northeastern Bosnian city of BRCKO. Sarajevo radio said Muslim villages around the city were entirely in flames, but there was no independent confirmation of the Serbian attack.

In the southern city of MOSTAR, sporadic shooting raged between Muslims and Croats despite a new cease-fire meant to halt four days of battles between the nominal anti-Serb allies.

In MOSCOW, Russia lavished praise on the Serbian government, promising to push for lifting sanctions if Belgrade keeps up the pressure on Bosnia's rebels. Interfax news agency quoted Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev as saying in an interview that BELGRADE's support for the peace plan of Cyrus Vance and Lord Owen was brave and patriotic.

The European Community warned Croatia that it could face trade sanctions similar to those against Serbia if Bosnian Croats do not stop their attacks on Muslims.

In WASHINGTON, the White House said that American's

European allies want U.S. troops dispatched to Kosovo as well as Macedonia to keep the war in Bosnia from spreading, but that such a move "is not imminent and is not something which is actively being pursued right now." President Clinton said he is "skeptical" about this weekend's referendum by Bosnian Serbs on a United Nations-backed peace plan and is waiting to see whether the Bosnian Serbs are "ready to have a serious peace process."

But at the UNITED NATIONS, key European diplomats denied that they had requested any U.S. presence in Kosovo, pointing out that Kosovo is a province of Serbia and that the move would need BELGRADE's permission unless Washington decided to invade.

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