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Serbia blasts NATO’s 1999 aggression as crime against humanity

Serbia on Tuesday is remembering an anniversary of NATO’s aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999

BELGRADE, March 24. /TASS/. NATO’s aggression against Serbia will remain a crime against peace and humanity, a group of Serbia’s non-governmental organizations of diplomats, political scientists, military officers and medics said in a statement, obtained by the TASS bureau.

"Twenty-one years ago, NATO, without obtaining permission to intervene from the United Nations, launched armed aggression against Serbia, thus crudely violating the UN Declaration, the Helsinki Accords, a number of other international conventions and its own act on the creation of NATO of 1949," the statement runs. "It has been and will remain a crime against peace and humanity. The act of aggression, committed in alliance with the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army, left an estimated 3,500-4,000 people dead and 12,500 others injured and caused tremendous economic damage. The use of depleted uranium rounds and other prohibited weapons was a long-term hazard to the people and the environment. NATO turned itself into an aggressive, interventionist alliance with an outspokenly expansionist policy targeting the East first and foremost."

The statement points out that "the act of aggression and subsequent occupation of Kosovo and Metohija, illegal creation of the US military base Bondsteel, unilateral proclamation of Kosovo’s independence and violations of the UN Security Council’s Resolution 1244 were dangerous precedents and heavy blows on the European and global system of security."

The Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals led by the former foreign minister of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Zivadin Jovanovic, the Club of Generals and Admirals of Serbia under General Milomir Miladinovic, and the Foundation United for Youth led by Professor Dr. Danica Grujicic urged the Serbian authorities to demand from the NATO countries a compensation for the war damages and hurry to draw up a list of all victims of the aggression." The influential Serbian organizations believe it is essential to probe into the effects of depleted uranium and to build a memorial to commemorate Serbia’s victims.

"Time is ripe for the governments of NATO and EU member-states to reconsider their role in the 1999 aggression and the policy towards Serbia and the Serbian people, to present official apologies for the victims and illicit elimination of Yugoslavia and resume compliance with the UN Security Council’s Resolution 1244," the statement runs.

Anniversary of bombardments

Serbia on Tuesday is remembering an anniversary of NATO’s aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999. All official events have had to be canceled due to coronavirus related risks. Serbians are uploading hundreds of posts, photographs and eye-witness recollections of the bombardments to social networks and messengers under the common slogan We Shall Not Forget.

NATO leaders claimed that the main reason for the air operation against Yugoslavia (codenamed Allied Force) was prevention of genocide of Albanians in Kosovo. NATO says that during the 78-day operation its combat aircraft flew more than 38,000 sorties, including 10,000 bombing strikes.

According to military experts, a total of 3,000 cruise missiles were launched and 80,000 bombs were dropped, including cluster and depleted uranium ones.

Serbia says the bombardments killed up to 4,000 and injured about 12,500 others, two-thirds of them civilians. Serbian specialists estimate the amount of depleted uranium bombs NATO dropped on Serbia at 15 tonnes. In the wake of this attack Serbia’s cancer rate became the highest in Europe. In the first ten years following the bombardments about 30,000 developed cancer and 18,000 of them died.

The material damage totaled $100 billion. The bombardments of oil refineries and petrochemical plants caused the pollution of water reservoirs and rivers with toxic chemicals. Serbian scientist Ljubisa Rakic believes that the amount of depleted uranium that NATO used in the territory of the Balkan states during the aggression would be enough to make 170 bombs identical to the one the US dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.