In keeping with the tradition maintained over all previous years, the Belgrade Forum for the World of Equals is marking 24 March, remembering this day back in 1999 when the NATO Alliance’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 the bombs and cruise missiles thrown by the most powerful military machinery in the history of civilization were busy destroying a small European country, they also destroyed the European and 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 the process, NATO allied with the so-called KLA, a separatist-terrorist formation, as its infantry wing, thus boosting separatism and terrorism.
On 23 March 2022, at 11:00 a.m., representatives of the Belgrade Forum, together with its partner Club of Generals and Admirals of Serbia and other patriotic-oriented organisations, will lay a wreath at the Monument to Serbian children killed during the aggression in the Tašmajdan Park. During the ceremony, Dragutin Brčin, Director of the Belgrade Forum, will address the audience on behalf of the Forum. Next, around the noon, representatives of the Belgrade Forum and the Club of Generals and Admirals of Serbia, together with other patriotic organisations, will pay 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 of Generals and Admirals of Serbia, will address the audience.
The Belgrade Forum invites all patriotic organisations and individuals that cherish the memory of the fallen members of the Serbian military and security forces and all those killed in the aggression, to join these events and thus pay their respect for the fallen defenders and civilians.
Strategy of military expansion to the east began as early as 1999
At present, we are witnessing calls for observance of international law and blaming other countries 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 FRY without a UN Security Council decision, the same ones who intentionally used missiles filled with depleted uranium and other banned weapons to deliberately and indiscriminately bomb our country’s infrastructure and the civilian targets, killed children, women, hospital patients and civilians, and who openly conducted smear campaigns against the Serbian people in global media.
The marking of the beginning of the 1999 NATO aggression against our country is another opportunity 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 many are yet to be remedied. The precedent of aggression executed without the UN Security Council approval was reused in the subsequent aggressions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria. NATO’s aggression against the FRY in 1999 was a steppingstone in bringing to life the strategy of military expansion to the East, closer to the Russian borders, which is the root cause of the Ukrainian crisis.
War damage from NATO aggression since 1999
During 79 days of unrelenting attacks on the FRY, from 24 March to 10 June 1999, the mass-scale assaults of NATO aviation sending missile systems and other weapons from air, waterways and land, with collaboration comprising the terrorists Albanian KLA, the regular army of the Republic of Albania, the mercenaries recruited and financed by Western states, and the instructors and special operation units of the leading Western states, has indiscriminately killed members of the Yugoslav Armed Forces and law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Serbia, as well as civilians including children, and destroyed cultural monuments, churches and monasteries, devastated military, economic, strategic and traffic infrastructure, business facilities, civilian facilities and institutions, schools, kindergartens, hospitals, and even the public broadcaster – 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 facilities throughout the country, and its 1,150 fighter planes launched some 420,000 projectiles with the total 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 the army and the police. 89 children were killed. In total, more than 12,000 people were wounded, of whom about 6,000 civilians including 2,700 children, and 5,173 soldiers and police officers. 25 persons are still listed as missing.
Since the precise list of civilian casualties has not been established yet, the Belgrade Forum reiterates 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 a thousand aircrafts (fighters, fighter-bombers, bombers, spy planes, etc.); the largest share in the air attacks had the forces of the USA, UK and Germany, albeit with significant roles in the aggression also played by other members.
The air assaults destroyed and damaged 25,000 residential buildings, disabled 470 km of roads and 595 km of railways. They also inflicted damage to 14 airports, 19 hospitals, 20 health centres, 18 kindergartens, 69 schools, 176 cultural monuments, and 44 bridges, while leaving additional 38 totally destroyed. Among the latter, of special significance are the destruction of two 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, the bombing of bridges in Novi Sad, the Zastava automobile factory in Kragujevac, the Embassy of the 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.
And the late effects until …?
During the bombing of the territory of the Republic of Serbia, ammunition banned under the Geneva Convention was routinely used, with in total 15 tons of uranium dumped on Serbia. As a direct consequence of missiles filled with depleted uranium, in 2015 Serbia was announced to be the 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 a large number of civilians. As a result of that, from the end of the aggression until 2006, 6 people perished from detonated cluster bombs throughout the territory of Serbia and Montenegro, while additional 12 were wounded.
In all likelihood, all those who fell victims to the delayed effects of missiles with depleted uranium, unexploded cluster bombs and other lethal means, will hardly ever be exactly accounted for. The Belgrade Forum invites the competent state authorities to ensure the continuation of the work of special bodies tasked with determining the consequences of the use of depleted uranium weapons and other means and methods employed during the NATO aggression.
The aggression ended on 10 June 1999, upon the signing of the Military-Technical Agreement in Kumanovo and the subsequent adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which established the truce and temporarily transferred the administering of Kosovo and Metohija to the United Nations. Pursuant to this Agreement, the FRY Army, the Police and the administration of the FRY and the Republic of Serbia, withdrew on an interim basis to the territory of Central Serbia. Along the withdrawal of the army and police, about 250,000 Serbs and other non-Albanians from Kosovo and Metohija fled to central parts of Serbia. This made Serbia the country hosting the largest number of refugees and internally displaced persons in Europe, 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.
Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals, 16 March 2022
Excerpts from the Final Document of the International Conference held in Belgrade on 22 and 23 March 2014, on occasion of the 15th anniversary of the NATO aggression against FR of Yugoslavia
“Exporting democracy and dictating cultural and civilization patterns has become a common approach of Western powers, primarily of the USA, in their aspiring to govern the world pursuant to their own standards and in line with their self-serving interests. The imposition of such cultural and civilisation patterns is an act of violence against reality that almost invariably results in conflicts, internal disorders, and deeper fragmentations and divisions; over time, this is prone to undermine the peace in the world and presents a perfect excuse for external military interference. This model has created the so-called “coloured revolutions” in Georgia, Venezuela and Ukraine and high jacked “Arab Spring revolution”, which managed to devastate and turn the clock back for several decades, such as: Libya, Egypt and Syria.
The strategy of interventionism involves several motives and purposes. These include the control over natural and developmental resources, reallocation of resources, and geopolitical reconfiguration of the world, against and at the expense of the predetermined key geopolitical adversary. This is how the USA/NATO/EU staged the crisis in Ukraine, whose solution is still nowhere in sight. One can say that the Ukrainian crisis is the single most dangerous threat to the peace since the end of the Cold War. Instead of acknowledging Ukraine as a natural connection between Russia and Europe, the West chose to interfere, by artificially dislocating it from its natural cultural, civilisation, and geopolitical environment and drawing it westwards. In doing so, the West paid no attention at all that the action could lead to internal conflict within Ukraine and that it would put at risk Russia’s vital interests. This dangerous geopolitical game played by America, NATO and the EU against Russia, as a proxy war at the expense of Ukraine under a “fine” but fake excuse of being waged for the benefit of the Ukrainians and their democratic social structure, has completely disregarded the effects of such policy against the interests of Ukraine, its people, the peace, and security in Europe and the world. Participants of the Conference advocated for a peaceful political solution free of interference and external pressures, that is, a solution that will guarantee its peoples will, and respect its role of a bridge between the East and the West. Such solution implies abandonment of the pernicious “Eastern expansion” which has already produced destabilisation in Europe. Participants expressed satisfaction that the people of Crimea have used their right of self-determination which resulted in reunification with Russia.”
Source: The Global Peace vs. Global Interventionism,
Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals, Belgrade,
2014, ISBN 978-86-83965-44-1, multilingual
The Belgrade Forum Information Service, firstname.lastname@example.org
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