BELGRADE, March 24. /TASS/. Serbia will forget about the 1999 NATO bombing campaign only when all the Serbs have ceased to exist, Serbian President Alexander Vucic said on Friday at the commemoration events marking the 24th anniversary of NATO’s aggression against Yugoslavia.
Vucic’s statement came in response to remarks by US Ambassador to Belgrade Christopher Hill, who expressed the hope that the Serbs "will set aside their grievances" caused by NATO’s aggression.
"Our obligation is to attempt to forgive. But, we will be able to forget [NATO’s aggression] only when we no longer exist. You will not succeed in breaking this country; it will keep on living," Vucic said.
On Friday, Serbia is commemorating the 24th anniversary of NATO’s aggression against Yugoslavia. This year, the central commemorative event is being held in Sombor, where the first bomb fell in 1999 and the first Serbian citizen was killed. Vucic, President of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik, Serbian Patriarch Porfirije and thousands of ordinary citizens attended a rally and a theatrical performance in Sombor.
NATO’s bombing campaign killed, according to Serbian estimates, 3,500-4,000 people, and left about 10,000 others (two-thirds of them civilians) injured. Material damages totaled up to $100 billion. During the three months of the bombing campaign, NATO forces dropped 15 tons of depleted uranium in bombs and shells on Serbia. Subsequently, the Balkan country’s cancer rates surged to first place in Europe. In the first ten years following the bombardments, about 30,000 people developed cancer, of which an estimated 10,000-18,000 died.