VIDEO | "They managed to destroy much bigger than us": Vucic with messages to the West on the anniversary of the bombing

Photo: RTS/printskrin

Today, Serbia marks 24 years since the beginning of the NATO bombing of SR Yugoslavia - the federation of which it was a member in 1999, together with Montenegro. The central event was held in the afternoon in Sombor, and the president attended it Aleksandar Vuќi., the president of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, deputies in the Parliament, as well as ministers in the governments of Serbia and Republika Srpska.

The Serbian Patriarch Porphyry a memorial service was held for the victims. "We will forgive if we can, we will forget only if we are gone", he smoked on stage, in front of the thousands of people present.

- In Sombor tonight, there are by far the most of us. It says something bad and something good. That's why I decided not to read a prepared speech tonight, I want to speak from the heart and what I think. 24 years ago, modern international law finally died. Since then, nothing that happens in the world can be worse than what they did to a small country. They managed to destroy much larger countries. Today I looked at the front pages of the world's leading magazines of that time, they say it is a clash between barbarism and modern civilization. They went a step further and said "let's go defeat those Serbs, those barbarians, because they committed genocide". No one anywhere said there was. They lied! You say you attacked a country because of a humanitarian disaster. When you saw that you could not get approval from the UN Security Council for that, you said why do we need them, that we need law, that we need justice. We are the only ones, alone in the world - said Vucic.

"24 years have passed, you tore off parts of our territory, you killed 79 of our children. Where did you get the right to kill our soldiers, our policemen?! Did Radovan Medic go to Massachusetts to kill someone or did you come here? You have never broken and will never break the Serbian spirit. We are not the only people who suffer, many around us also suffered. We have to keep up with the world, listening to Marianne's speech a while ago, as much as I tried not to shed a tear, I just imagined having to tell someone's child that their father had died. No one confused my reason, darkened my mind, I did not become a traitor. It is mine to pull the country through the eyes of a needle. No one is talking about peace. You don't hear the word peace anywhere because it is forbidden. "No one will talk about peace," said the Serbian president.

"Then they did not prevent the humanitarian disaster. One reason was to show that they are the strongest, and the other reason was to steal KiM from us. Today there are more Albanians in Kosmet than then, only there are three times less Serbs. – You killed our children, but you did not kill us, this nation will live, you will not break it. With us here tonight are Roma and Bosniaks and Hungarians and members of other nations, all those who feel this country as their own," said Vucic.

"Today we are no longer small, and we are not easy prey like in 1999. We must grow, develop, preserve peace, see how to preserve all that is ours and never claim what belongs to others. How come you haven't broken that little nation yet? it won't be that we don't understand everything, we understand better than anyone. We want peace, no conflicts with NATO or anyone. We are not giving Serbia away and we will never give it to anyone. We will not give you our children, long live Serbia! Long live the Republic of Srpska, long live our heroic Sombor! Long live Serbia!" Vucic finished his speech before the gathered citizens.

Serbia and Montenegro (which were then part of one country – FR Yugoslavia), do not have accurate data on the number of people killed in the 78-day NATO bombing of the country. Officially, 754 victims have been confirmed, but some estimates speak of over 2.500 dead.

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