Aleksandar Vucic was marking the 24th anniversary of the bloc's bombing campaign, which killed thousands
Serbians could only forget the "aggression" unleashed by the US-led NATO, in 1999, if their country ceases to exist, President Aleksandar Vucic warned on Friday. He was marking the 24th anniversary of the military bloc's bombing campaign of the then Yugoslavia.
Vucic added that the US and its allies have yet to answer for their attacks, conducted in violation of international law. His speech comes at a time when Belgrade is being pressured by Western countries over its ties with Russia.
Speaking at a ceremony in the northern city of Sombor to commemorate the victims of the deadly airstrikes that claimed thousands of Serbian lives, Vucic said that NATO's aggression marked the moment when "modern international law finally died."
"24 years have passed. You tore away parts of our territory. You killed 79 children, 2,500 people and not only civilians, but also soldiers and police," the Serbian president asserted. "Who are you to kill our soldiers and police who are on their territory and in their country? Where did you get the right to kill our soldiers and our police? Who gave you that right?"
Vucic recalled that the US-led military bloc attacked a "free and sovereign country" while justifying the move by saying it had to stop "genocide." Belgrade was engaged in a civil war with ethnic Albanian separatists at the time, following other post-Yugoslavia conflicts in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia.
He also recalled that NATO failed to get permission from the UN Security Council to start the military intervention, but went ahead with it anyway.
According to the Serbian leader, NATO "carried out the aggression" for two reasons. Firstly, they wanted to show that "we are the strongest and we can do everything," and secondly, "to take [provinces] Kosovo and Metohija" away from Serbia, he said.
Vucic went on to say that Serbia's duty is "to try to forgive," but that it can forget everything only if it ceases to exist.