NOT TO FORGET 23 years since the beginning of NATO aggression on Serbia (the FRY)

Mar 16, 2022

In keeping with the tradition maintained over all previous years, the Belgrade Forum for theWorld of Equals is marking March 24, remembering this day back in 1999 when the NATOAlliance’s illegal and criminal aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (the FRY)began, thus paying tribute to the fallen defenders of the motherland and the killed civilians.

This aggression was the first war on European soil waged since the end of World War II. As thebombs and cruise missiles thrown by the most powerful military machinery in the history ofcivilization were busy destroying a small European country, they also destroyed the Europeanand global security system based on the UN Charter, the OSCE Final Act and the Paris Charter.To this day, Europe and the world still suffer the severe consequences of that destruction. In theprocess, NATO allied with the so-called KLA, a separatist-terrorist formation, as its infantrywing, thus boosting separatism and terrorism.

On March 23, 2022, at 11:00 a.m., representatives of the Belgrade Forum, together with itspartner Club of Generals and Admirals of Serbia and other patriotic-oriented organisations, willlay a wreath at the Monument to Serbian children killed during the aggression in the TašmajdanPark. During the ceremony, Dragutin Brčin, Director of the Belgrade Forum, will address theaudience on behalf of the Forum. Next, around the noon, representatives of the Belgrade Forumand the Club of Generals and Admirals of Serbia, together with other patriotic organizations, willpay tribute to all victims of NATO aggression at the monument “Eternal Fire”, in Novi Beograd.On the occasion, General Luka Kastratović, ret., President of the Executive Board of the Club ofGenerals and Admirals of Serbia, will address the audience.

The Belgrade Forum invites all patriotic organisations and individuals that cherish the memoryof the fallen members of the Serbian military and security forces and all those killed in theaggression, to join these events and thus pay their respect for the fallen defenders and civilians.At present, we are witnessing calls for observance of international law and blaming othercountries for violating it, cynically made by the USA, the UK, Germany and NATO as a whole,that is, the exactly same countries and bodies that had themselves illegally attacked the FRYwithout a UN Security Council decision, the same ones who intentionally used missiles filledwith depleted uranium and other banned weapons to deliberately and indiscriminately bomb ourcountry’s infrastructure and the civilian targets, killed children, women, hospital patients andcivilians, and who openly conducted smear campaigns against the Serbian people in globalmedia.

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The marking of the beginning of the 1999 NATO aggression against our country is anotheropportunity to recall all their crimes and atrocities and to remind our public, especially the youth,of the horrors and damage the aggression caused, as well as of the consequences of which manyare yet to be remedied. The precedent of aggression executed without the UN Security Councilapproval was reused in the subsequent aggressions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria. NATO’saggression against the FRY in 1999 was a stepping stone in bringing to life the strategy ofmilitary expansion to the East, closer to the Russian borders, which is the root cause of theUkrainian crisis.

During 79 days of unrelenting attacks on the FRY, from March 24 to June 10, 1999, the mass-scale assaults of NATO aviation sending missile systems and other weapons from air, waterwaysand land, with collaboration comprising the terrorists Albanian KLA, the regular army of theRepublic of Albania, the mercenaries recruited and financed by Western states, and theinstructors and special operation units of the leading Western states, has indiscriminately killedmembers of the Yugoslav Armed Forces and law enforcement agencies of the Republic ofSerbia, as well as civilians including children, and destroyed cultural monuments, churches andmonasteries, devastated military, economic, strategic and traffic infrastructure, businessfacilities, civilian facilities and institutions, schools, kindergartens, hospitals, and even the publicbroadcaster – the Radio Television of Serbia, killing 16 of the RTS employees.Over the course of this aggression, NATO carried out 2,300 airstrikes on 995 facilitiesthroughout the coutnry, and its 1,150 fighter planes launched some 420,000 projectiles with thetotal mass of 22,000 tons, including depleted uranium weapons.

About 4,000 casualties were estimated, of whom some 3,000 civilians and 1,031 members of thearmy and the police. 89 children were killed. In total, more than 12,000 people were wounded, ofwhom about 6,000 civilians including 2,700 children, and 5,173 soldiers and police officers. 25persons are still listed as missing.

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Since the precise list of civilian casualties has not been established yet, the Belgrade Forumreiterates its appeal to the state authorities to finally see to this sad task being completed.In their attacks on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, NATO forces employed approximately athousand aircrafts (fighters, fighter-bombers, bombers, spy planes, etc.); the largest share in theair attacks had the forces of the USA, UK and Germany, albeit with significant roles in theaggression also played by other members.

The air assaults destroyed and damaged 25,000 residential buildings, disabled 470 km of roadsand 595 km of railways. They also inflicted damage to 14 airports, 19 hospitals, 20 healthcenters, 18 kindergartens, 69 schools, 176 cultural monuments, and 44 bridges, while leavingadditional 38 totally destroyed. Among the latter, of special significance are the destruction oftwo oil refineries (in Pančevo and Novi Sad), the demolition of the Avala Broadcasting Tower,the building of the Serbian Radio and Television, the Petrochemistry Complex in Pančevo, thebombing of bridges in Novi Sad, the Zastava automobile factory in Kragujevac, the Embassy ofthe People’s Republic of China, and many other civilian targets.Estimates are that some 38% of targeted facilities were of a civilian purpose..The war damage was estimated to about USD 100 billion.

During the bombing of the territory of the Republic of Serbia, ammunition banned under theGeneva Convention was routinely used, with in total 15 tons of uranium dumped on Serbia. As adirect consequence of missiles filled with depleted uranium, in 2015 Serbia was announced to bethe top-ranking country in Europe in terms of mortality from malignant tumors. In addition,about 1,000 cluster bombs were dropped on 219 locations on an area of 23,000 km2, killing alarge number of civilians. As a result of that, from the end of the aggression until 2006, 6 peopleperished from detonated cluster bombs throughout the territory of Serbia and Montenegro, whileadditional 12 were wounded.

In all likelihood, all those who fell victims to the delayed effects of missiles with depleteduranium, unexploded cluster bombs and other lethal means, will hardly ever be exactlyaccounted for. The Belgrade Forum invites the competent state authorities to ensure thecontinuation of the work of special bodies tasked with determining the consequences of the useof depleted uranium weapons and other means and methods employed during the NATOaggression.

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The aggression ended on June 10, 1999, upon the signing of the Military-Technical Agreementin Kumanovo and the subsequent adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1244, whichestablished the truce and temporarily transferred the administering of Kosovo and Metohija tothe United Nations. Pursuant to this Agreement, the FRY Army, the Police and theadministration of the FRY and the Republic of Serbia, withdrew on an interim basis to theterritory of Central Serbia. Along the withdrawal of the army and police, about 250,000 Serbsand other non-Albanians from Kosovo and Metohija fled to central parts of Serbia. This madeSerbia the country hosting the largest number of refugees and internally displaced persons inEurope, after this and other wars that marked the violent and forcible breakup of Yugoslavia.

It is cynical to the extreme to take to accusing other countries of crimes that the leading NATO states have continuously committed themselves. It would serve them well if, at least as late as today, as they stand accusing others, they halt for a moment and remember their own misdeeds, repent and remedy all the injustices they have done to our country as well as to others, most notably, to Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and others. . Never forget. See you on March 24, 2022

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