German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has described the 1999 NATO bombing of then-Yugoslavia as the “right” move.
“I still believe that Germany’s participation [in NATO’s military operation] was caused by a responsible approach [to the situation]”, Maas told the German newspaper Stuttgarter Nachrichten.
At the same time, he said that a military intervention always remains a “last resort” when it comes to defusing tensions.
“At the time, we witnessed massive violations of human rights, right up to mass killings. I think the NATO intervention was right. I do not want to know what else would have happened if this [interference] did not take place,” Maas said.
In 1999, NATO warplanes conducted Operation Allied Force on the territory of then-Yugoslavia under the pretext of stopping the killing of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.
Serbia says that at least 2,500 people were killed and 12,500 wounded as a result of the NATO bombings that were carried out from 24 March to 10 June, 1999 without the UN’s authorisation.
The 78-day air raid campaign also resulted in massive infrastructural damage and the contamination of part of the region with depleted uranium.