Central Celebration of Operation Storm Anniversary Starts in Knin

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, August 5, 2019 – A wreath-laying and candle-lighting ceremony was held at a monument dedicated to Croatia’s victory in the 1995 Operation Storm in Knin on Monday morning, the first in a number of events that will mark Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and Croatian Veterans Day and the 24th anniversary of the combined military and police operation that ended an armed rebellion of local Serbs, helping restore state sovereignty in occupied central and southern parts of the country and enabling the peaceful reintegration of eastern Croatia in January 1998.

A joint wreath was laid at the monument by President and Armed Forces’ Supreme Commander Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and the leader of the national association of the families of Croatian defenders killed or gone missing in the war, Ljiljana Alvir.

The ceremony is to be followed by addressed by Grabar-Kitarović, Plenković and Jandroković, after which the three state officials will head for the Knin Fortress overlooking the town to attend the traditional hoisting of the Croatian flag there and a ceremony at which the names of Croatian soldiers killed or gone missing in the 1995 operation will be read out.

The Croatian Air Force aerobatic team The Wings of Storm is expected to perform a display above the Knin Fortress during the ceremony. The programme at the Knin Fortress also includes a performance by the Croatian Navy harmony singing group “St George”.

After the ceremony at the Knin Fortress, participants in the event will attend a religious service for the homeland in a local church.

The combined military and police operation Storm was launched on 4 August 1995 and it liberated areas in northern Dalmatia, Lika, Banovina and Kordun that had been controlled by Croatian Serb rebels for four years.

In only 84 hours, Croatian forces, with about 200,000 people, liberated slightly less than 10,500 kilometres of territory, almost one-fifth of the country, which helped put an end to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and enabled the peaceful reintegration of the Croatian Danube region.

The operation was launched at 5 am on August 4 along the line running from Bosansko Grahovo to the south to Jasenovac to the east, the front line being more than 630 kilometres long.

The operation culminated on August 5, when members of the Croatian Army’s 4th and 7th Guard Brigades liberated Knin, until then the stronghold of rebel Serb forces.

In the following days, Croatian forces took control of the state border and launched a mop-up operation in the liberated areas. At 6 pm on August 6, then Defence Minister Gojko Šušak declared the end of Operation Storm.

With Operation Storm, Croatian forces enabled the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina to lift the siege of the northwestern town of Bihać, thus helping prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and crime similar to the Srebrenica genocide.

The Homeland War Memorial and Documentation Centre says that 196 Croatian soldiers were killed, at least 1,100 were wounded and 15 went missing in the operation, while losses among Serb forces were several times bigger.

More news about Operation Storm can be found in the Politics section.


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