NATO Never Held Accountable for War Crimes in Yugoslavia: Russian Foreign Ministry

Both Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova and the Russian government news agency TASS have been bolder in condemning NATO aggression in the past week than in any other time in memory.

Recently Zakharova denounced the role of NATO nations in engineering the deadly coup in Ukraine seven years ago, the violent overthrow of a legally-elected and internationally-recognized government, which resulted in a war in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine which continues to this day.

In uncharacteristically candid language she offered this assessment of the event:

“NATO is unscrupulous. By its own hands, using ambassadors and foreign ministers, they encouraged Maidans [deadly “color revolution” uprisings – RR] in Ukraine and led the country to the full loss of its sovereignty and the condition of half-disintegration, and rendered the state administration lifeless, set Ukrainians against each other and their own history, and now they recall that they have some legal restrictions. They should have remembered about rights and ethics when they deployed their special services in Ukraine’s ministries and agencies, designed and sponsored Maidans and trained militants.”

Then referring to the 32-nation U.S.- and Ukrainian-led Sea Breeze war games in the Black Sea which started today, she said:

“We understand very well that these drills have two global goals. The first one is endless destabilization along the Russian border. This is a provocation for the sake of a provocation, they are trying to get a response. And there needs to be a response, because this is a sovereign state, a sovereign border. To constantly make this response come off as aggressive actions is provocative activity.

“The second [objective] is to transport various types of equipment and arms to Ukrainian territory and leave them there.”

The naval and air maneuvers are occurring dangerously close to the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol in Crimea. On June 23 the British guided-missile destroyer HMS Defender had to be warned off the coast of Sevastopol by a Russian border guard vessel and an attack aircraft.

A European capital in flames for the first time since World War II

Today TASS reported on an interview that the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman gave to the Serbian newspaper Kurir in which she stated that none of the instigators of NATO’s aggression against the former Yugoslavia in 1999 has ever been brought to justice for their actions. Though she didn’t mention them by name, the primary culprits were U.S. President Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, NATO Secretary General Javier Solana, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Wesley Clark, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and others who have gone on to enrich themselves through creating foundations, consulting firms and “philanthropies,” lucrative book deals and other scams.

Wesley Clark ran for president of the U.S. in 2004; his chief cheerleader was Michael Moore. Joschka Fischer, who never finished high school, was appointed visiting professor at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Javier Solana seamlessly transitioned from head of NATO to the European Union’s High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy. Madeleine Albright created the Albright Stonebridge Group/Albright Capital Management, joined the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange and is on the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations. William Cohen founded the eponymous business consulting and lobbying firm The Cohen Group with three fellow former Pentagon officials. No languishing in jail cells in the Hague for them.

None of those has been investigated and charged for launching an unprovoked war not authorized by the United Nations; for providing a revived NATO, which was then celebrating its 50th anniversary in Washington, D.C. and inducting former Warsaw Pact members into its ranks, with its first war. Having waged the first one with impunity, at the time and since, NATO moved onto new wars in Asia and Africa.

In Zakharova’s words: “The task of people who know history is to always remember it and never let this period vanish in oblivion. The NATO aggression against your country that took place in 1999 was accompanied by many deaths, a lot of innocent people died, including children. Nobody ever bore any responsibility for it. It is lamentable that only rarely can you hear words of regret from some Western politicians.”

The Russian report of her comments included this background information:

NATO’s air and missile war, conducted in coordination with the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army on the ground in the province which gave it its name, started on March 24 and lasted for 78 days.

The assault on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, then a nation of some 10 million people, two million of them in Kosovo, was waged by a military bloc of 19 countries, including three nuclear powers, with a combined population of 850 million people. It was promoted as a humanitarian intervention for “the prevention of the genocide of Albanians in Kosovo” (as TASS describes it), though no such genocide occurred.

It was also in many ways the first war that many self-identified progressives in North America and Europe embraced; the first endorsed by such types since World War II.

By NATO’s own account the bloc flew 38,000 combat sorties including 10,000 bombing runs. Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from ships and submarines in the Mediterranean Sea.

An estimated 4,000 people, two-thirds of them civilians, were killed in the NATO onslaught; 10,000 were injured. The military bloc dropped 15 tons of depleted uranium-encased bombs on the country. In the years following Serbia registered the largest number of cancer cases per capita in Europe. In the decade after the air war 30,000 Serbian citizens were diagnosed with cancer, of which some 10,000-18,000 died. The nation – or what remained of it – was littered with unexploded cluster bombs as well as depleted uranium residue.

$100 billion worth of damage was wreaked on the country.

After rapidly exhausting anything that could be identified as a military or dual-use target, NATO bombers attacked a passenger train, a religious procession, a refugee column, Radio Television of Serbia headquarters (killing 16 employees), a maternity ward, a vacuum cleaner factory, bridges, marketplaces, power grids, apartment courtyards, the Swiss embassy and the Chinese embassy where three journalists were killed and 27 other Chinese injured.

The perpetrators of that carnage and destruction have not been called to account. They have been rewarded. The message has not been lost and the wars go on.

Author: Rick Rozoff

Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. He is the manager of Stop NATO. This originally appeared at Anti-Bellum.