Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 was needed by NATO in order to move east, closer to the Russian border. Lavrov also said that, at the time, Washington was tempted to take control of the entire world situation and to stop being guided by the UN Charter when dealing with international problems. The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry is convinced that western countries will go to any lengths to prevent new investigations into possible crimes by NATO in Yugoslavia.
Sergey Lavrov believes that at the end of the 90s, the US decided that it had won the Cold War. “The US suddenly had the temptation to take complete control of the situation in the whole world, to depart from the principles of coordinating approaches to international problems on the basis of the UN Charter, and to deal with all the emerging problems in such a away as to dominate in all the regions of the world. Without a doubt, Yugoslavian history was connected to the desire to move NATO to the east, closer to Russia’s border,” he said in an interview with NTV that was published on the Foreign Ministry website.
The Russian Foreign Minister added that, at the time, Russia did everything in its power to stop the bombing of Yugoslavia. “It was largely at our initiative that the OSCE mission that was deployed in this region, primarily in Kosovo and the adjacent regions, was formed,” he remarked.
Lavrov is convinced that western countries will obstruct an investigation into possible violations of international law by the NATO command when it bombed Yugoslavia. “It seems to me that the West is doing and will do everything to prevent this [investigation] from taking place,” he said. The minister added that the Serbian government is carrying out its own investigation into NATO’s use of prohibited munitions. “Based on its results, we will see what can be done to ensure that this crime does not go unpunished,” he promised.
“The North-Atlantic Alliance’s operation was carried out with the grossest violations of the principles of international humanitarian law, because the bombs detonated on civilian facilities,” Lavrov stressed. As examples, he cited incidents in which a passenger train and a broadcasting center were attacked by NATO aircraft.
In October 2018, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Yugoslavia was bombed in order to protect the civilian population and to overthrow president Slobodan Milosevic.
March 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the start of the bombing of Yugoslavia – airstrikes by NATO between 24 March and 10 June 1999 in order to prevent a genocide of the Albanian population in Kosovo.