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Bombardovanje Beograda 1999

May it never happen again: This is how NATO bombed Serbia 21 years ago with 50,000 depleted uranium missiles

Foto: Profimedia
In the territory of Republic of Serbia and Montenegro, depleted uranium was used in attacks on facilities on the ground during the NATO bombing.

18,170 combat aviation flights were performed during the illegal NATO attack. 60% of the targets were civilian targets. According to the NATO report, 31,000 projectiles with depleted uranium were thrown; according to the data of the Yugoslav Army, 50,000; while according to some Russian sources, as many as 90,000 projectiles.

According to the professor doctor Danica Grujičić, 10-15 tons of depleted uranium were delivered to 112 locations in the area of ​​Southern Serbia and Kosovo and Metohija. Among them are 4 localities in the south of central Serbia in the vicinity of Vranje: Pljačkovica, Borovac, Bratoselci and Reljan.

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The radioactivity in Pljačkovica was 100,000 times higher during the period when it was bombed compared to the peacetime period. As a result of the bombing of depleted uranium, radiation was also increased in neighboring countries: Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, and Macedonia. NATO also bombed chemical and oil plants in Pančevo on April 15, 1999, and as a result, 20 tons of chlorine were released into the atmosphere.

The destruction of oil depots has led to the release of huge amounts of carbon dioxide and numerous highly carcinogenic compounds. In Barič, 165 tons of hydrofluoric acid were released into the river Sava, while in Pančevo and Novi Sad, 3 tons of mercury went to Danube.

Today, the entire flora and fauna is endangered in all areas bombarded with depleted uranium. Moreover, the bombing left tragic consequences on the population as well. Prof. Dr. Danica Grujičić presents the following data: while the world average of patients with malignant diseases is 2000 per million inhabitants, in Serbia the number of patients is 5,500 per million inhabitants, which is 2.7 times above the world average.

By 2014, almost 40,000 new cases of malignancy had been registered and mortality from leukemia had increased by 139%. In Serbia, the rate of new cases is growing by 2% every year, while in the world that number is 0.6%. Additionally, members of the Italian and French armies within KFOR who were on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija have also been affected from the increased radiation.

In Italy, a Commission of the Italian Parliament was formed, whose task was to conduct research on the deaths of Italian soldiers within KFOR. The Italian Parliament had the opportunity to interrogate, gather evidence, and form cases. Specific research conducted by the Italian Parliament's Commission on Environmental Pollution has shown that depleted uranium has affected more than 400 Italian soldiers who took part in the KFOR mission in areas bombarded with depleted uranium missiles, 1,200 from asbestos, and about 2,000 soldiers died while 7,500 became ill from heavy metals.

Although the affected people and the families of the deceased received hundreds of convictions in Italy, NATO's official position is that there is no link between depleted uranium bombing and carcinogenic diseases. In May 2018, the Commission for the Investigation of the Consequences of the NATO Bombing in 1999 on the Health of Citizens and the Environment was formed in the Republic of Serbia.

The Commission has the obligation to inform the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia about its activities and is obliged to submit the first preliminary report with the proposed measures to the Parliament by the end of 2020.

The Commission will also follow the steps used by the Italian Parliament which has been investigating the consequences of the NATO bombing for 12 years. Ultimately, Serbia still pays a high price for the illegal and illegitimate NATO attack, which can be inferred from the high percentage of people suffering from various types of cancer. Although 21 years have passed since the beginning of the NATO aggression on the Republic of Serbia and its southern province, the consequences are still tragic for the entire population. May it never happen again.

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