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‘We’ll forgive but not forget’: Serbia won’t be in NATO, leaders say 20yrs after Yugoslavia bombing


Serbia will never be part of NATO, even if it is the only non-member European country, the country’s defense minister, Aleksandar Vulin, said during anniversary events of the 1999 NATO bombing of former Yugoslavia.

Vulin said on Saturday that Belgrade has chosen to be militarily neutral at all times.

Interview With President Milošević at Capitol Hill in the US 1999

We made this choice because we were bombed, but first of all because we will never do to other nations what they have done to us

On March 24, Serbia marks 20 years since the 1999 NATO bombing that saw hundreds of civilians killed and many more injured. Countless civilian structures across the country were left in ruins after the airstrikes.

“We won’t be in NATO, I made it clear speaking to [Secretary General Jens] Stoltenberg,” Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in a sit-down interview with Russia’s Channel 1 on March 22. Serbia, which was the heartland of former Yugoslavia, “isn’t something that you can break down or destroy,” he said. 

Yes, we are ready to forgive but we will never forget.

The NATO bombing also polluted the land with depleted uranium. The toxic substance used for armor-piercing munitions is believed to be the cause of the spike in cancer cases today.

“We can’t rely on being reimbursed for our losses, nor can we expect a punishment of those who took part in this horrid crime,” Vucic stated. “But the most important thing now is [to ensure] that this will not happen to us again.”