BELGRADE, December 1. /TASS/. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko described the 1999 NATO aggression against Yugoslavia as "a terrible lesson to the entire humanity" while visiting the ‘Defence 78’ display in exhibition hall of the Museum of the City of Belgrade on Saturday.
The Defence 78 exhibition is devoted to the 78 days between March 24 and June 1999, when NATO member states bombed Yugoslavia.
"I think that every honest person must visit this museum. This exhibition is, at the same time, an evidence of incredible courage, unbreakable spirit and resilience of the Serbian people and a terrible lesson to the entire humanity. This lesson teaches only one thing: such things must never happen again," he said.
Grushko left a similar message in the museum’s guestbook.
"Shame on aggressors, never forget the victims," he added.
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.