Serbia and Montenegro Mark Anniversary of NATO Bombings in Yugoslavia

The 4th anniversary of the start of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's war against Yugoslavia is marked on Monday. Commemoration services are held in all churches in Serbia and Montenegro. Flowers are laid to the monuments to victims of NATO bombardments.

The decision to start the bombing of Yugoslavia was taken by NATO Secretary General Javier Solana on March 23, 1999. On the same day, the government of Yugoslavia declared the state of imminent military danger.

NATO's aggression began late on March 24th, 1999. The first bombs were dropped on Pristina and Kosovo. Then, strikes were dealt at airfields, command posts, barracks, military depots, radars and civilian targets. During the first day, Novi Sad, Kragujevac and Lucany lost 13 civilians.

The war against Yugoslavia, just as the current war against Iraq, got no approval from the United Nations Security Council. On June 9, 1999 representatives of the army of Yugoslavia and NATO inked in Kumanovo an agreement on the pullout of the Serbian army from Kosovo. On June 10, the NATO secretary general ordered an end to bombing. On the same day the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1244 on Kosovo, which introduced a military and a civilian mission in Kosovo, which became a protectorate of the international community.

Over 78 days of continuous bombing of Yugoslavia, more than 2,000 civilians were killed, 90 children among them. NATO called their death "incidental casualties". Simultaneously, 1,002 servicemen and policemen died of bombs, cruise missiles and in clashes with Albanian terrorists. Thus, the number of civilian victims was twice as large as the losses among servicemen.

Bombardments destroyed, or seriously damaged 200 industrial enterprises, oil tanks, energy facilities, objects of infrastructure, including 82 railway and motor bridges. The size of total damage has not been cited. It is estimated at 29-100 billion dollars. After the change of power in Belgrade in 2000 October, Western states refused to pay damage to Belgrade.

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