How was the NATO bombing of FRY: 78-day campaign, civilians died in Montenegro as well

Key details of the NATO campaign

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NATO hits one of the bridges in Serbia, Photo: Printscreen YouTube
NATO hits one of the bridges in Serbia, Photo: Printscreen YouTube
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

A little after 19:XNUMX in the capital of Serbia, Belgrade, the first sirens sounded.

They warned of the overflight of NATO military planes over Serbia.

Shortly before 21:XNUMX p.m., the sounds of a powerful explosion rang out at the "Lola Utva" aircraft factory in Pančevo, a city in Serbia.

Fire and smoke engulfed this location on the outskirts of Belgrade. That was the moment that marked the beginning of the 78-day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.

NATO planes bombed the territory of Serbia, Kosovo and Montenegro.

How did the bombing happen?

Despite the opposition of China and Russia, then NATO Secretary General Javier Solana ordered airstrikes on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on March 23, 1999 at 22:17 p.m.

The reason for this decision was Serbia's rejection of a political solution to the Kosovo crisis.

The airstrikes were launched without the approval of the United Nations Security Council.

The decision to bomb was made after the then president of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milošević, refused to resolve the crisis in Kosovo through political means.

Important facts

It is estimated that there were around 1999 Yugoslav soldiers in Kosovo in 40.000.

Based on UNHCR estimates in March 1999, about 475.000 Kosovo Albanians were displaced by the offensive by Serbian military and police forces. This number continued to grow and by the end of the war nearly a million Albanians had left Kosovo.

According to the data of the Fund for Humanitarian Law, during the war in Kosovo in 1998-1999, more than 13.500 people were killed, of which 76 percent were civilians. The search for more than 1.600 missing persons is still ongoing.

What did NATO bomb?

The bombings had three main targets: Yugoslav air defenses, command and control systems, and Serbian military forces deployed in Kosovo.

Main attacks

March 24, 1999

The aircraft manufacturing and overhaul factory in Pančevo was bombed, as well as other facilities of military importance in Serbia.

March 25, 1999

A location in Rožaje, in Montenegro, near the border with Kosovo, was bombed.

March 26, 1999

A fuel warehouse in Lipovice, Serbia, was destroyed in the bombing. Part of the electrical network was damaged in Batajnica.

March 28, 1999

The "Sloboda" factory in Čačak, a large producer of electrical household appliances in Serbia, was affected.

April 1, 1999

Bombs hit the bridge between Novi Sad and Petrovaradin in Serbia.

April 3, 1999

NATO hit the government building in Belgrade.

April 4, 1999

The headquarters of the Yugoslav Army in Belgrade was bombed.

Warehouses of "Beopetrol" in Belgrade and Bogutovac in Kraljevo were destroyed.

A fuel warehouse in the boiler factory in New Belgrade was bombed.

The oil refinery in Pancevo was also hit.

Slatina airport near Pristina was hit.

"NIS Jugopetrol" was bombed in Smederevo, Serbia.

April 5, 1999

The boiler factory and oil refinery in Novi Sad were affected.

Other warehouses of "Naftagas prometa", located ten kilometers from Sombor, were also affected.

The main Belgrade airport was bombed.

"NIS Jugopetrol" in Pristina was also affected.

The affected tobacco factory in Nis, Serbia.

The gunpowder factory "Milan Blagojević - Namenska" in Lucani, Serbia was hit.

April 6, 1999

The target was the "Beopetrol" warehouse in the village of Velika Kruša in Orahovac.

The gunpowder factory "Milan Blagojević - Namenska" in Lucani, Serbia was bombed.

April 7, 1999

The "Jugopetrol" warehouse in Sombor, Serbia, was bombed.

Several locations in Pristina and Novi Sad were bombed.

April 8, 1999

NATO attacks continue in Kraljevo, on government facilities in Belgrade and surrounding cities.

April 9, 1999

NATO bombed the "Zastava automobili" factory in Kragujevac, "NIS Jugopetrol" in Smederevo and RTS broadcasters in Goleš near the Pristina airport.

April 10, 1999

Airports in Pristina, Nis and Kraljevo were bombed.

April 11, 1999

The Divčibare mountain complex near Zlatibor and a settlement in Novi Sad were attacked.

April 12, 1999

Several locations in Kosovo and Serbia were bombed, among them a train, a "Jugopetrol" warehouse in Priština, a hotel in Kopaonik. Oil warehouses in Novi Sad, Pančevo and Kragujevac were also attacked.

April 13, 1999

Attacks on oil warehouses in Kosovo and Serbia continue.

April 14, 1999

Convoy with civilians in Kosovo hit by mistake.

Attacks continue in Pristina, mainly on oil warehouses.

April 15, 1999

Several locations in Serbia were attacked.

April 16, 1999

The oil refineries in Pančevo and Novi Sad were again under attack.

April 18, 1999

Several locations in Pancevo in Serbia were bombed, as well as some places near the Slatina airport in Kosovo.

April 19, 1999

The location in Subotica and the explosives processing factory in Barič in Serbia were targeted.

A communication transmitter near Pristina in Kosovo was destroyed.

April 20, 1999

A coal mine near the Slatina airport, on the outskirts of Pristina, was hit.

Government buildings in Pristina and an oil refinery in Novi Sad were bombed.

April 21, 1999

The headquarters of the Socialist Party of Serbia in Belgrade was hit.

April 22, 1999

One of the residences of the President of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milošević, was bombed.

Attacks continue in Pristina and Novi Sad.

April 23, 1999

The public service station in Belgrade, Radio Television of Serbia, and the bridge in Novi Sad, as well as other locations in Serbia, were bombed.

April 25, 1999

The industrial zone in Niš was targeted.

April 26, 1999

Locations in Sombor, Novi Sad, Niš and Kragujevac in Serbia were bombed.

Slatina airport in Kosovo was bombed again.

April 27, 1999

Locations in Belgrade and Surdulica in Serbia were bombed.

In Kosovo, Slatina, Decani, Peć, Lipljan were bombed.

April 28, 1999

The oil refinery in Novi Sad, the TV transmitter on top of Fruška Gora, and the oil warehouse in Požega were bombed.

In Kosovo, locations in Mitrovica, Pristina and the Stari trg mine were bombed.

A bomb accidentally fell in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Part of the Golubovac airport near Podgorica in Montenegro was bombed, as well as in Bar and Bijelo Polje.

April 30, 1999

The government building in Belgrade was bombed.

The bombed bridge over the Lim in Murin, Montenegro.

May 1, 1999

The bus of Niš Express was hit by a mistake on the bridge in Lužan on the outskirts of Pristina.

May 2, 1999

Mainly the electric network was bombed.

A bus in Peja and an oil warehouse in Pristina and Orahovac were hit.

RTS headquarters and an oil refinery in Novi Sad were bombed.

May 5, 1999

"Jugopetrol" in Niš was bombed again.

May 7, 1999

NATO mistakenly bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. Three Chinese journalists were killed.

Targets in Nis.

Bombed bridge on the way to Romania.

May 8, 1999

Intense attacks in Belgrade, mainly on the power grid.

May 10, 1999

The explosives factory "Prva Iskra" in Barič was bombed.

May 13, 1999

A location in Korisa near Prizren was bombed. NATO stated that there was a command post of the Serbian army and police. Local Albanians were killed and injured.

May 14, 1999

A refugee camp on the highway Priština - Prizren, near the village of Koriša, was bombed.

May 15, 1999

Jugopetrol warehouses in Bor and Belgrade were bombed.

May 17, 1999

"Jugopetrol" in Bor bombed again.

May 19, 1999

Bombed warehouse "Jugopetrol" in Belgrade.

May 20, 1999

The residences of the ambassadors of Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Norway and Hungary in Belgrade were damaged in the air raids.

The embassy of Libya was also damaged, as was the building of the Israeli diplomatic mission.

May 21, 1999

The electricity transmission network in Niš was affected.

May 22, 1999

The electrical network in Belgrade and other parts of Yugoslavia was affected and damaged.

May 23, 1999

NATO began intensive bombing of the power grid. Many cities were left without electricity and water.

May 24, 1999

The gunpowder factory "Milan Blagojević - Namenska" in Lučani, Serbia, was bombed again.

May 27, 1999

Bombed oil warehouse "Jugopetrol" in Bor.

Targeted electricity network in Belgrade.

May 30, 1999

The bombed bridge in central Serbia and the sanatorium in Surdulica.

May 31, 1999

Bombed broadcasters in Niš.

10. June 1999.

NATO stopped air attacks on Yugoslavia.

The UN adopted resolution 1244, which provides for the establishment of an international administration in Kosovo.

The withdrawal of Serbian troops from Kosovo begins.

Serbia's reaction

The Serbian Army tried to react to the NATO airstrikes. According to some documents, individual longer-range systems were used in Kosovo to target NATO aircraft in an unpredictable manner.

The weapons used for the attack were short-range, as were the mobile anti-aircraft defense systems.

The NATO report states that instead of fighting Serbian systems, NATO commanders decided to operate at altitudes where most Serbian anti-aircraft systems could not be effective.

Serbian army's attempt to hide

Faced with intense air attacks, members of the Serbian military tried to confuse NATO pilots during the bombing campaign.

These camouflage methods were presented in a 2000 US Department of Defense report explaining the organization and purpose of the bombing of Yugoslavia.

"The Serbs made extensive use of camouflage to hide tactical targets, such as military vehicles, and fixed objects, such as bridges. In addition, the Serbs attempted to create several false targets," the report said.

Attack efficiency

After the end of the intervention, NATO issued a preliminary assessment of the effectiveness of its attacks on a number of targets.

Those targets, which were destroyed or visibly damaged, include:

11 railway bridges

34 highway bridges

29 percent of the total storage of Serbian ammunition

57 percent of oil reserves

All Yugoslav oil refineries

14 command posts

Over 100 aircraft

10 military airfields

The planes that guaranteed NATO's success

With the cooperation of numerous member states and a large number of aircraft at their disposal, the NATO report from 2000 lists three types of aircraft that played a key role in the success of the bombing of Yugoslavia. Drones were also used in the air campaign.

Below are three models that NATO has described as key to success.

The C-17 is a high-wing, four-engine, T-tail military transport aircraft that can transport equipment, supplies, and troops directly to small airfields in rough terrain anywhere in the world.

U-2, Iron Clad – This is a multi-role, single-pilot aircraft that can acquire photographic or radar images, as well as monitor enemy communications and locate sources of electronic signals.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) enabled NATO commanders to monitor the situation on the ground without being noticed or endangering the crew, and to provide continuous coverage of important areas.

Errors during bombing

NATO bombing was not always accurate. There were also victims among civilians, both on the territory of Kosovo and in Serbia.

In 1999, NATO itself estimated that there were around 520 civilian casualties during the bombing.

In some cases, NATO pilots hit targets by mistake and caused dozens of casualties.

One such incident occurred on April 14, 1999, on the outskirts of Prizren, when over 80 civilians were killed in NATO bombing.

In another case, when the bridge in Lužan on the main road Priština-Podujevo was hit, around 40 civilians were killed.

In the attack on the "Deligrad" barracks in Aleksinac, Serbia, on April 5, 1999, ten civilians were killed and 30 were injured.

When a train was hit in Ristovac (Grdelička klisura) near Leskovac in Serbia on April 12, 20 people died.

23 civilians were killed in the NATO attack on RTS in Belgrade on April 16.

In April, 11 civilians were also killed in Surdulica, Serbia.

Six civilians were killed in Murin, Montenegro, on April 30.

At the beginning of May, 14 civilians were killed in Nis, Serbia.

These are just some of the incidents in which civilians died during NATO bombing in Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro.

After 78 days of attacks, the bombing stopped on June 10, 1999 with the signing of the Kumanovo Agreement, which provided for the withdrawal of all Serbian military and police forces from Kosovo.

This was followed by the adoption of Resolution 1244 of the United Nations Security Council.

This Resolution represents a compromise of the five permanent member countries of the Security Council, on the basis of which the administration of the United Nations - UNMIK was established in Kosovo.

Then, on June 12, 1999, the deployment of about 50.000 soldiers from 36 countries of the world began, of which 30.000 were from NATO member countries.

KFOR is still present in Kosovo today and takes care of the security of all communities.

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