Scholz equates participation in Ukraine war to Yugoslavia bombings
German chancellor Olaf Scholz compares his country's role in the Ukraine war to the devastating Yugoslavia bombings.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has drawn comparisons between Germany's involvement in the Ukrainian conflict and the NATO-led bombing of Yugoslavia, describing both as "watershed" moments.
In a recent COSMO podcast, Scholz pointed out that Germany's military engagement in the 1999 attacks on Yugoslavia marked the first time since World War II that the country participated in such actions.
Scholz, who entered the federal parliament in 1998, was a part of the decision-making process regarding Germany's military involvement in what NATO claimed was a peacekeeping mission during the Balkan conflict. This vote was among his early experiences in parliamentary engagement.
He encountered another significant juncture, known in German defense policy as "Zeitenwende" or turning point when he approved providing military assistance to Kiev last year.
On March 24, 1999, NATO militarily intervened in former Yugoslavia, breaching the country's sovereignty, under the pretense of "human rights protection".
The illegal campaign had resulted in the death of over 2,500 people, including 87 children, as well as abnormally high cases of cancer and birth defects as a result of the depleted uranium shells that were used to bomb the then-Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Over the period of the aggression, the alliance dropped an estimated 15 tonnes of depleted uranium in bombs and shells, after which the country's cancer rates spiked, ranking it the first in terms of cancer in Europe.
In the first ten years following the heavy shelling, about 30,000 developed cancer and estimations say that between 10,000-18,000 of them died.
The NATO airstrikes in Yugoslavia persisted for nearly three months. Serbia's estimates suggest that the casualties numbered in the thousands, with over 12,000 individuals sustaining injuries.
Speaking at the mourning event dedicated to the 24th anniversary of NATO aggression against Yugoslavia, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said the Serbian people will forget the atrocities committed by the alliance "only when all Serbs disappear."
He recalled that the illegal campaign had resulted in the death of over 2,500 people, including 87 children, as well as abnormally high cases of cancer and birth defects as a result of the depleted uranium shells that were used to bomb the then-Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
"It has been 24 years since you ripped away part of our country, killing children and civilians, military and police. Where did you get the right to kill our military and police, who gave you that right?" Vucic said, noting that NATO's illegal campaign had caused $100 billion worth of damage.
"You have not prevented any humanitarian catastrophe, you have armed rebel groups in a free and sovereign country, which has crossed to the territory of another state even a single inch, not even one toe," Vucic added.