ZAGREB, May 1, 2020 – President Zoran Milanović abruptly left the central commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Flash Operation in protest against the salute “For the homeland ready” on T-shirts of some of war veterans who arrived in the town of Okučani on Friday morning to participate in the commemoration.
The salute concerned, which was used during the Ustasha regime in the Second World War, was also used by the HOS volunteers during the 1991-1995 Homeland War.
“I am sorry. I came here to pay tribute to those who gave their lives for Croatia. We had agreed about all elements of the protocol. However, one of the participants who was supposed to lay a wreath before me, appeared in the T-shirt with the message ‘Ready for the Homeland’,” Milanović said explaining why he had left abruptly the commemorative event and was not among the state officials during the wreath-laying ceremony.
Milanović considers the whole situation as an act of provocation. “I find that this was an act of trampling on the sacrifice and on the memory of this (liberating) operation., Milanović said.
“I will not participate in any commemoration in the future with such events. I understand the prime minister and the parliament speaker. They have to,” Milanović said alluding to the fact that the commemoration was held as planned with the PM Andrej Plenković and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković.
Operation Flash was launched on 1 May 1995, and within 31 hours Croatian military and police forces liberated about 500 square kilometres of territory occupied by Serb insurgents and restored control over the A3 motorway.
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