Yeltsin's Hot Line Not So Hot

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Hello, Bill... Bill? Boris Yeltsin claims he gave President Clinton a piece of his mind in a Wednesday night phone call about Kosovo. But whoever heard Yeltsin's telephonic tongue-lashing, it certainly wasn't Clinton: "There has not been a telephone call or written communication between the two presidents in recent days," White House spokesman P. J. Crowley said Thursday. No matter -- "Yeltsin's warnings are designed for domestic consumption," says TIME Moscow correspondent Yuri Zarakhovich. "The enfeebled president is trying to show that he's strong enough to stand up to the Americans." Last December, of course, the U.S. simply ignored similar warnings before bombing Iraq -- after all, they come from a man holding out a begging bowl.