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    Yugoslav soldiers walk on Murino bridge alledgedly damaged by NATO air strikes, some 130 km from Podgorica, May 2, 1999

    Journalist Blames Montenegrin Gov't for Covering Up 1999 NATO Bombing Fallout

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    Commenting on NATO's alleged use of depleted uranium during its bombing of Montenegro's Lustica Peninsula in 1999, Montenegrin journalist Igor Damjanovic told Sputnik that clearing the contaminated territory was "a very costly and protracted process."

    Montenegrin journalist Igor Damjanovic recalled that after NATO allegedly used bombs with depleted uranium against people living on Montenegro's Lustica Peninsula, the radiation level in the area was 350 times higher as compared to safety norms.

    He said that clearing Lustica's territory was "a very expensive and complex process, which was only partially effective."

    "The work involves removing several layers of land, storing them in specially installed places and filling in the voids that have formed as the result," Damjanovic explained.

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    He cited experts as saying that clearing the territory does not eliminate all risks, such as radioactive dust, which has a lasting negative effect on water as well as flora and fauna, since the half-life of uranium is 4.5 billion years.

    "In this vein, Montenegrin authorities' desire to hush up the problem and hide the truth from the population is a crime which is tantamount to the bombing itself," according to Damjanovic.

    He referred to special instructions designed for NATO's troops in Kosovo, which Damjanovic said reflects "enormous cynicism of NATO structures and the alliance-funded local authorities."

    READ MORE: Falling Skies: Serbian Children Recall the Horror of 1999 NATO Bombing

    "In particular, the instruction reads that if you are based 500 meters away from a tank, a car or a building that has been hit by a depleted uranium shell, you must wear a protective mask because inhaling particles of uranium dust may cause cancer and illness of your offspring in a few years," Damjanovic said.

    He also recalled that the bombing of Kosovo with depleted uranium shells led to an outbreak of cancer among Italian soldiers who served in the province as part of the KFOR (Kosovo Force) mission; 45 soldiers have already died, with 500 more currently being treated.

    Damjanovic stressed that "it is in this context that we should consider the absence of any comparative analysis of the increasing number of cancer cases in Montenegro before and after the 1999 NATO bombings."

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    According to him, the authorities fear that these figures could indicate a direct link between the use of bombs with depleted uranium and an increase in the number of cancer patients.

    Earlier this month, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic slammed NATO's bombing campaign against then-Yugoslavia using munitions containing depleted uranium. According to him, Serbian doctors determined that such shells have severely affected the health of the country's young population.

    READ MORE: Juncker Warns of Likely War in Balkans if EU Doesn't 'Open Up' to Ex-Yugoslavia

    Noting that juvenile cancer is mostly diagnosed among children whose parents were born around 1990, Vucic pledged that Serbia would investigate the issue further.

    A total of 300 depleted uranium bombs were reportedly dropped on Montenegro's Lustica Peninsula during the NATO mission against the former Yugoslavia in 1999.

    During the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia, between 10 and 15 tons of depleted uranium munitions were used, according to an international legal team headed by Serbian lawyer Srdjan Aleksic.

    The views and opinions expressed by Igor Damjanovic are those of the analyst and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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