BELGRADE, January 30. /TASS/. Serbia is not joining NATO due to logical and well-known reasons, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Monday at a joint news conference with Czech President Milos Zeman.
"We are not a member of the North Atlantic Alliance for obvious reasons. You know that only 24 years ago, 19 NATO states bombed this country. That sentiment is very much alive here. About 2,500 people, including 82 children, were killed here," Vucic said. "The only thing we want is to be ourselves, to be a problem to anyone, not to take what doesn’t belong to us and not to hurt anyone."
On March 24, 1999, NATO began a military operation against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. NATO leadership claimed that the 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. According to Serbian data, the bombardments killed 3,500-4,000 and injured 10,000 others, two thirds of them civilians. Material damage totaled $100 billion.
According to Serbian experts, NATO dropped 15 tons of depleted uranium over the three months of bombings. After that, the country ranked first in Europe in terms of the number of cancer cases. About 30,000 new cancer cases were registered in the first ten years after the bombings, with a mortality rate from 10,000 to 18,000 patients.