BELGRADE, March 21. /TASS/. Serbia will not join NATO, because it cannot forget the children killed during the alliance’ aggression against it in 1999, Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic told an election rally in Kikinda on Monday.
"I believe that Serbia must not join NATO. Serbia is a free country and a militarily neutral country. Serbia will be defending its land and its sky on its own. But let me tell you something: our duty is to forgive and our duty is not to forget. Not to forget 11-month-old Bojana Tosic, killed in Merdare, near Kursumlija, not to forget little Milica Rakic, killed in Batajnica, and not to forget little Sanja Milenkovic, killed in Varvarin. We have no right to forget this. We will get far more stronger than we were in those days, when the irresponsible, the arrogant and the presumptous were bombing us and waging a war of aggression against us and our country," Vucic said.
NATO’s aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999 lasted for 78 days. The alliance’s leadership argued that the main reason for the operation codenamed Allied Force was prevention of genocide of Kosovo’s Albanians. According to NATO’s sources its aircraft flew 38,000 sorties and carried out 10,000 bombing strikes.
The bombardments killed, according to different estimates, 3,500-4,000, and left about 10,000 others (two-thirds of them civilians) injured. The material damage totaled $100 billion. During the three months of bombardments NATO forces dropped on Serbia 15 tonnes of depleted uranium in bombs and shells. After that the country’s cancer rates surged to first place in Europe. In the first ten years following the bombardments about 30,000 developed cancer and an estimated 10,000-18,000 of them died.