Numerous March 24 Events to Mark 23rd Anniversary of NATO Aggression | Beta Briefing

Numerous March 24 Events to Mark 23rd Anniversary of NATO Aggression

Source: Beta
Archive / News | 24.03.22 | access_time 11:52

On March 24, 1999, NATO launched bombing campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia(BETAPHOTO/MILOS MISKOV/DS)

Today, Serbia marks the Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the NATO Aggression – namely the 23rd anniversary of the Alliance’s airstrikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This year, the national ceremony will be hosted by the city of Kraljevo.

The Kraljevo commemoration will be attended by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, his PR service has announced. Prior to that, Vucic will visit Kraljevo to attend the unveiling of a monument to Lieutenant Colonel Veljko Radenovic and to lay a wreath on the monument to the fallen soldiers of the 125th Motorized Brigade.

In a March 23 evening interview for the RTS public service, Vucic said that he cannot blame the former president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic, for the 1999 bombing, stating instead, that the blame lies with those who initiated the attack – therefore with NATO. “I would have acted differently from Milosevic, I would have put a stop to it after a few days, even if that meant resigning from office,” Vucic said.

President Vucic further stated that while Russia did introduce sanctions on Serbia in 1999, Vladimir Putin was not Russia’s leader at the time.

The anniversary of the first day of the NATO attack will be marked by a series of events dedicated to the victims of the bombing as well as by the laying of wreaths and flowers on related monuments.

According to unofficial sources, the NATO bombing took the lives of 2,500 civilians and about 1,000 soldiers and police officers. The airstrikes lasted 78 days and caused severe damage to basic infrastructure, industrial buildings, healthcare facilities, media buildings and military infrastructure. The Alliance’s operation – which both the former Yugoslav government and legal experts have deemed illegal according to international law – took place following unsuccessful March 1999 negotiations in Rambouillet, Paris, regarding the Kosovo crisis.

The bombing of Yugoslavia ended on June 10 with the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1244. Yugoslav military and police personnel withdrew from the province and were replaced by international military forces. According to the UNHCR, since the arrival of international peacekeepers, about 230,000 Serbs and Roma have fled Kosovo while about 800,000 Albanian refugees have returned to the territory.

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