Serbia marks 23rd anniversary of NATO bombing


On March 24, 23 years ago, the 11-week NATO began bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) over Belgarde policy in the then Serbia's province of Kosovo, which sought independence.

According to unofficial sources, about 2,500 civilians and about 1,000 soldiers and police officers were killed. Infrastructure, businesses, health facilities, media houses and military facilities were severely damaged in the 78-day bombing.

The central commemoration of the „Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the NATO Aggression“ will be held in the central town of Kraljevo.

The FRY Government and many legal experts described the bombing as illegal aggression because it was not approved by the UN Security Council but by the General Assembly.

The leading candidate on Serbia’s ‘Nada’ (Hope) coalition parliamentary list for the April 3 elections, General Bozidar Delic, said on Thursday that „the world has never seen such a military force that attacked us, and we successfully defended ourselves.“

„We did not move an inch from Serbia’s border. We will not give up on seeking the NATO responsibility for the aggression against our country and its consequences for the state and the people,“ Delic, former commander of the defence against possible NATO ground invasion attempt in 1999, added.

It followed unsuccessful negotiations held at Rambouillet, France, on resolving the Kosovo crisis, during which Pristina accepted the conditions while Belgrade rejected them.

The bombing ended on June 10, with the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1244, followed by the withdrawal of the Belgrade army and police from Kosovo and the arrival of the NATO-led international military troops and the European legal mission.

UNHCR has said that 230,000 Serbs and Roma left Kosovo since the arrival of peacekeepers while 800,000 Albanian refugees have returned.

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