ZAGREB, August 5, 2018 – A day before the 23rd anniversary of Operation Storm, a joint Croatian military and police operation that ended a Serb armed rebellion in August 1995 and restored Croatian sovereignty over occupied central and southern parts of the country, enabling peaceful reintegration of eastern Croatia in January 1998, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić paid his respects to the Serb victims, saying the Operation Storm was motivated by hatred towards Serbs and that strong Serbia would never again allow another Storm.
Vučić said that Serbia today was strong and it would never allow another Storm against the Serb population anywhere, only because they were Serbs.
Serbia on Saturday marked Remembrance Day commemorating the persecution of Serbs during the Croatian military and police Operation Storm by which Croatia regained its occupied territory and which the authorities in Belgrade describe as “a premeditated crime.”
A religious ceremony was held by Patriarch Irinej and the central commemoration, held on Saturday evening in Bačka Palanka, was attended by the Serbian state leadership.
Addressing the event, Vučić said: “Hitler wanted a world free of Jews and Croatia wanted a country free of Serbs.”
Vučić, whose country is still not recognising aggression against Croatia, said Serbia would protect its people and reiterated there would be no new Storms.
The event was also attended by the president of the Bosnian Serb entity Milorad Dodik, who said that in 1995 the West and NATO equipped the Croatian Army to commit ethnic cleansing. He also said he was confident that in this century the Serb people would find the strength and unite Serb territories.
Patriarch Irinej said that Serbs were persecuted only because they were Serbs, but called for forgiveness.