BELGRADE, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Serbian people marked another Remembrance Day for Victims of the NATO Aggression on Wednesday, held on the 22nd anniversary of the beginning of the 78-day attack spearheaded by the United States that took away lives of many civilians and brought immense material damages.
Across the country, people laid wreaths to commemorate the deaths of thousands of innocent people, in what Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic once again condemned as "a horrific act of crime, and act of aggression".
Speaking at a ceremony in Belgrade, attended only by a handful of representatives of government and other guests due to the anti-epidemic measures, and broadcasted live on national television, Vucic reminded how NATO countries "attacked a sovereign country, without an approval of the United Nations".
"They attacked us in order to kill us, humiliate us, and in the end -- to take a part of our territory," he said, referring to Serbia's southern province of Kosovo which unilaterally declared independence years after the conflict, recognized by the same NATO member countries that led the military campaign against Yugoslavia.
Vucic reiterated that Serbia will never recognize Kosovo's independence because this would undermine the sacrifices that the country and its people made, and instead suggested working on a compromise with its province.
Vucic said that Serbian people "remember with tears in their eyes how they resisted and fought against the cruel and arrogant nations" and how "we lost our fathers, partners, children".
He said that Serbia is no longer the tormented country it was, that it regained its strength and dignity and that it strives to rebuild relations with those countries that had bombed it -- but stressed Serbia will never forget what happened in 1999.
The NATO bombings started on March 24, 1999. During the 78-day military attack, 2,500 civilians were killed, among whom 79 were children, according to the Serbian government.
In addition, around 25,000 objects were damaged, including airports, hospitals, schools, cultural monuments, road infrastructure, as well as the building of the Chinese embassy, where three Chinese journalists were killed and dozens injured. Enditem