The United States is publicly insulting Russia by accusing it of war crimes in Syria, even though the U.S. bombed civilian targets “in the former Yugoslavia.”
Tanjug cited TASS on Monday to report Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying this, in reference to NATO’s 1999 bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SRJ), made up of Serbia and Montenegro.
In interview for Rossiya 1’s documentary film about Russia’s former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, Lavrov said:
“When the greatest patriot of his country, a very experienced politician, a great public official, a person with a huge intuition, with encyclopedic education, with understanding of various processes, learned that the United States decided to start bombings of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, he did not see for himself an opportunity to continue business as usual, fly to U.S. Vice President Albert Gore for important, but rather routine talks.”
“The U-turn became a reminder that Russia can’t have a mission in the world other than defend its truth, do it jointly with other powers, but certainly achieving equal relations and mutually beneficial agreements. The aggression against Yugoslavia was certainly aggression. By the way, it was the first armed attack in Europe on a sovereign state after 1945,” said the Russian minister.
“If we are talking about that, now, against the backdrop of what is going on around Syria, our Western partners, first of all Americans, and Brits too, are in their hysteria reaching public insults, using such words as ‘barbarism’, ‘war crime’. I will recall that the aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was associated with attacks on a huge number of civilian facilities, by the way, Serbian television, bridges that civilian passenger trains traveled on, and much more. Thousands of those killed, several hundred children out of them, 250,000 refugees that no one has recalled since,” Lavrov said.
“Had Russia, in the person of Primakov, not reacted in the way he reacted to that gross violation of international law, then we would have probably long not forgiven ourselves for that, and our history would have contained another unpleasant page,” he added.
But, according to Lavrov – Primakov “did it in such a way that Russia showed its character and took the only right position as of that moment.”
In its report, TASS said that on March 24, 1999 – the day NATO started its attacks on Serbia – Primakov was flying to Washington for an official visit and learned that the bombing had started while his plane was above the Atlantic Ocean.
“The politician decided to cancel the visit, ordering the plane to turn around and headed back to Moscow in a maneuver which was dubbed ‘Primakov’s Loop’,” the Russian agency said.