BELGRADE, September 10. /TASS/. Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko has admonished the United States over its aggression against the former Yugoslavia bringing about civilian deaths, along with air raids using depleted uranium shells.
Botsan-Kharchenko’s statement that was issued on Tuesday came as a response to US Special Envoy to the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer’s pronouncements about Russia’s approaches to the Balkans.
"The statement by US Special Envoy to the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer that Russia allegedly wants to see the Balkans as an unstable region is perplexing and saddening. It looks like he thinks that support to stability manifests itself in military aggression against a sovereign country, killings of people, destruction of infrastructure, use of harmful uranium. Or, maybe, in division of the country, separation of peoples who used to live within the same community, or imposing a choice in favor of NATO membership despite the nation’s will and lawmakers’ and governments’ decisions, or glorification of evildoers and relegation of patriots and heroes, falsification of history," the Russian diplomat said.
He stressed that the only argument used by the US diplomat was ungrounded allegations that Russia was seeking to organize a coup in Montenegro whereas "Washington’s strategy of enhancing stability by means of anti-constitutional coups is obvious and well-known." "Palmer’s commentary is at odds even with the common-sense logic: why should Russia seek instability and mistrust in a region where its leading companies are implementing large-scale and long-term joint projects with Serbia?" he asked.
NATO air raids
On March 24, 1999, NATO began a military operation against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. NATO leadership claimed that prevention of genocide of the Albanian population in Kosovo was the main reason behind the operation called Allied Force. NATO said that during the 78-day operation its aircraft flew 38,000 sorties to carry out 10,000 bombing strikes.
Military experts have found that the alliance launched 3,000 cruise missiles and dropped 80,000 bombs, including cluster bombs and low-enriched uranium bombs. According to Serbian forces, the bombardments killed 3,500-4,000 and injured 10,000 others, two thirds of them civilians.
According to Serbian experts, NATO dropped 15 tonnes of depleted uranium over the three months of bombings to make the country Europe’s number one in terms of cancer cases. About 30,000 new cancer cases were registered in the first ten years after the bombings, with the lethality rate from 10,000 to 18,000 patients.
Material damage totaled $100 billion. The strikes against oil refineries and petrochemical plants poisoned the country’s water supply system with toxic chemicals.
According to Ljubisa Rakic, a Serbian scientist and a member of the Serbian, Russian, New York, Eurasian, European and other academies, the amount of low-enriched uranium dropped by NATO on the Balkans was enough to make 170 A-bombs like the one that was dropped by the United States on Japan’s Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.