Serbian President Says Country Will Not Join NATO, Recalls 1999 Bombing of Yugoslavia
© AP Photo / Dimitri MessinisBombing of Belgrade by NATO forces
© AP Photo / Dimitri Messinis
BELGRADE (Sputnik) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Saturday that the country will not join NATO after the alliance bombed Yugoslavia in 1999.
"Our opponents say that we must join NATO. And my answer to them is that we must not join NATO, because we have our own army that protects our land and sky. Not far from here they killed Milica Rakic [a three-year-old girl who was killed during NATO bombing of Yugoslavia]. Soon we will mark the anniversary of the aggression, and we will not hesitate and will call it an aggression, not an intervention or a campaign," the Serbian leader said during a campaign rally in Busije settlement.
The rally took place in advance of the 2022 Serbian presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for April 3.
In 1999, an armed confrontation between Albanian separatists from the Kosovo Liberation Army and the Serbian army led to a bombing of what was then the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, consisting of Serbia and Montenegro, by NATO forces. The operation was undertaken without the approval from the UN Security Council and was based on the allegations by Western countries that the Yugoslav authorities were allegedly carrying out ethnic cleansing of Kosovo Albanians. NATO airstrikes continued from March 24 to June 10, 1999 and claimed the lives of over 2,500 people, including 87 children.