BELGRADE, March 24. /TASS/. The 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia was stopped by joint efforts of Moscow and Belgrade, the Russian embassy in Belgrade said in a statement Wednesday on the occasion of the 22nd anniversary since NATO’s aggression against Yugoslavia began.
"On March 24, 1999, in defiance of fundamental principles of international law, the armed aggression against Yugoslavia began. Around 2,000 civilians died during the 78 days of barbaric bombings which were cynically presented as ‘humanitarian intervention <…>’. The architecture of peace and security in Europe and international stability sustained enormous damage. The joint efforts of Moscow and Belgrade in June 1999 stopped the air attacks of NATO, while the situation in Kosovo and Metohija returned to the political and diplomatic track," the statement reads.
"The evil that was NATO’s aggression against Yugoslavia should never be repeated. Russia continues to strongly support full respect of universal principles of international law," the mission added in its statement.
Wednesday marks 22 years since the beginning of NATO’s aggression against Yugoslavia, which started on March 24, 1999 and lasted for 78 days. The alliance claimed that the main argument in favor of the offensive operation codenamed Allied Force was prevention of genocide of Albanians in Kosovo. According to NATO’s own estimates, its planes flew 38,000 sorties, including 10,000 for delivering bombing strikes.
According to Serbia’s estimates the bombardments left 3,500-4,000 killed, and about 10,000 injured, two-thirds of them civilians. The material damage totaled $100 billion. During the three-month bombardments of Yugoslavia NATO forces dropped 15 tonnes of depleted uranium in bombs and artillery shells. After that Serbia’s oncological disease rates climbed to first place in Europe. During the first ten years following the bombardments about 30,000 people developed cancer. An estimated 10,000-18,000 of them have died.