Seventeen years ago, on March 24, 1999, NATO began bombing Yugoslavia without UN approval. From March 24 to June 10, 1999, more than 1,700 civilians were killed, including nearly 400 children, and about 10,000 people were seriously injured.
|Passenger train destroyed by NATO bombs near Grdelica on April 12, 1999,
killing 14 civilians and wounding 16.
More than half a million people were left homeless. Eighty-two bridges, 422 educational institutions, 48 health facilities, and thousands of critical elements of life-supporting infrastructure were destroyed or damaged. Some 750,000 inhabitants of Yugoslavia became refugees, and 2.5 million were left without essential living conditions. The total material damage caused by NATO aggression amounted to over $100 billion.
Today, in Serbia and Montenegro, rallies are being held in memory of the victims. All of them are anti-NATO manifestations.
On behalf of the residents of Lugansk, we express our solidarity with Yugoslavia. The Balkan tragedy of 1999 should have been a lesson for the world, but to our great regret, it was not. NATO and the U.S. continue to foment civil war in Europe, shedding the blood of innocent civilians. Our Slavic peoples, who for a long time rebuffed Western expansion, became a “favorite” target of the aggressors. Now we know what Yugoslavia learned 17 years ago — not from media reports, but from our own bitter experience.
The blood shed in the Balkans and in Donbass will forever remain on the hands of the politicians who believe other nations are bargaining chips in their geopolitical games. But we believe that one day the world will have enough of our examples and our pain — the international military despotism of the U.S. and NATO will come to an end.
With hope and fraternal support,
Coordinator of the International Forum “Antifascism, Internationalism, Solidarity” (AIS Forum)
Translated by Greg Butterfield