BRUSSELS, March 24. /TASS/. Western states did not learn the lessons of the Yugoslavia tragedy 20 years ago when the country was targeted by NATO bombings, Russia’s permanent mission to NATO told reporters on Sunday.
"March 24 is certainly a tragic date in Europe’s modern history. This day exactly 20 years ago a temptation prevailed to solve challenging and very sensitive inter-ethnic and inter-religious problems in Yugoslavia not by meticulous diplomatic efforts, but by simple and quick methods of ‘military surgery’ bypassing international law and without the permission of the United Nations’ Security Council," the permanent mission said.
"Then as a result of bombings and missile attacks critical civilian infrastructure facilities were destroyed and civilians became ‘collateral damage’ for NATO. An attack on the Chinese embassy cannot be explained either," it said.
Russia’s NATO mission emphasized that today "conflict potential in the region remains along with the problem with international recognition of Kosovo." "Unfortunately, the steps in Iraq and Libya showed that the lessons of those dramatic events in the Balkans were not taken into account either," it stated.
March 24, 2019 marks 20 years since NATO started its military operation against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The bombings started without the permission of the UN Security Council. Top NATO officials said the primary cause of Operation Allied Force was to prevent the alleged genocide of the Albanian population in Kosovo. According to the NATO website, during the operation, which lasted 78 days, the alliance’s warplanes made 38,000 sorties, more than 10,000 of them for conducting bombing raids.
According to Western data published by Human Rights Watch, the bombings killed nearly 500 civilians and some 1,000 military. Serbian data said some 2,000 civilians died in the bombings and several hundred people went missing, while the death toll among the military is estimated at 1,000. Serbia’s military and industrial infrastructure was almost fully destroyed, and more than 1,500 settlements, 60 bridges, 30% schools and 100 monuments were ruined. Material damage amounted to between $30bln and $100bln, and some facilities have not been reconstructed by now.