The Serbs shouted: “Bravo, Russia!” How our paratroopers stopped NATO soldiers


Weekly “Argumenty i Fakty” No. 10. Wings of the Soviets 09/03/2022

March marks 23 years since the start of the NATO bombing of Belgrade. Residents of Serbia remember that Russia came to help them then. And today, no matter how pressure Belgrade, Serbia — the only European country that refused to impose sanctions against our country.

The turn of the plane of Evgeny Primakov is well knownover the Atlantic on March 24, 1999, the then prime minister of Russia already in the air learned about the missiles fired by NATO at Belgrade, and cancelled his visit to the United States. And a couple of months later, in June, there was another U-turn over the same Atlantic: now deputy. US Secretary of State Strobe Talbott. He was returning from Moscow when he learned that a convoy of Russian military was moving to the Kosovo city of Pristina. The Russian operation was prepared in the strictest secrecy and came as a shock to the NATO leadership. Talbott returned to Moscow, demanding in high offices to stop the Russian column, but it was too late. 

Flowers on armor

June 11 & 12, 1999 & nbsp; Russian peacekeepers made a swift forced march for 600 km and captured the Slatina airfield in the Kosovo capital, Pristina. The paratroopers entered the city at night, but no one slept in Pristina. Residents greeted Russian soldiers, as in 1944 , when our army liberated Yugoslavia from the Nazis. The Serbs threw flowers on paratroopers' vehicles, people knelt down and thanked God, others kissed the armor of Russian vehicles. And & nbsp; everyone shouted: "Bravo, Russia!" These documentary footage, filmed on June 12, 1999, in Pristina, and today can be found on the Internet, and then they were broadcast live by Western television companies. And the whole world saw how the Russian army came to protect the defenseless.

In 1999    the State Duma held parliamentary hearings on NATO crimes in Yugoslavia. The Serbs provided two volumes of documents, photographs of destroyed buildings and killed civilians, more than 2 thousand of them died, among them 400 children, more than 10 thousand people were seriously injured. These are only the officially documented victims. But nobody, except Russia, wanted to see and hear          wanted to       The West turned a blind eye to these crimes. 

  I was in Belgrade when NATO was bombing the city — tellsRetired Colonel-General Georgy Shpak, who commanded the Airborne Forces in & nbsp; 1996 & ndash; 2003 & nbsp; — Blows were inflicted on bridges, railway stations, residential areas. NATO used banned cluster bombs and depleted uranium munitions, after which the incidence of cancer in the country increased many times over. Russia was categorically against the actions of the alliance. The Serbs hoped for our help. But the Anglo-Saxons and their slickers squeezed Russia out of the process of resolving the conflict by all means. In the answer is the General Staff of Russia — then it was headedGeneral of the Army Anatoly Kvashnin — with approval of President Boris Yeltsindecided to capture the strategic airfield in Pristina in Kosovo, thus breaking the plan of the “partners”. In  May 1999 I I received an order from the Chief of the General Staff to fly to the Bosnian city of Ugljevik, where the headquarters of the airborne peacekeeping brigade was located. It was necessary to prepare a detachment to capture the airfield “Slatina” in Kosovo. This airfield operated the only runway in the region 2.5 thousand meters long, which could receive any aircraft, including bombers and military transporters. The one who controlled Slatina controlled all of Kosovo.

Arriving in  Ugljevik, we began to prepare an operation with brigade commander Colonel Nikolai Ignatovunder the noses of the Americans. In the military camp where our brigade was located, there was also a unit of the US Army. I knew that at the headquarters of the Russian peacekeeping brigade, all my meetings were recorded by the Americans, so there we discussed the cleaning of the territory, the appearance of the fighters, and even the quality of making the beds. After that, they went out with the brigade commander to the street, and I practically whispering in ear set the task.

Our airborne brigade was in Ugljevik in in accordance with an international treaty under the auspices of the UN and carried out a peacekeeping mission. But to the hottest spot of the former Yugoslavia — Kosovo — no one was going to let us in. Between Uglevik and Pristina, the capital of Kosovo — almost 600 & nbsp; km. Brigade commander Ignatov received a signal from the General Staff on June 10 and began to act according to the developed plan. The brigade was alert       1500 paratroopers rushed around the neighborhood for several hours. Under this cover, the BTR-80 assigned to carry out the task were quietly withdrawn to & nbsp; the concentration area & mdash; to an abandoned airfield under the city. The column was commanded by Senior Operational Group of the Russian Airborne Forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina Major General Valery Rybkinand battalion commander Colonel Sergey Pavlov.

The Americans realized it only when our column passed Belgrade, — it spotted by their satellites. And in Kosovo its movement was slowed down by the Serbs themselves. General Rybkin reported to me on the night of June 12: the entire Serb population of Pristina took to the streets. For this reason, the  Slatina airfield arrived only in the morning.

Only volunteers were selected

The paratroopers were met at the airport by our advanced special group led by Colonel General Yunus-Bek Yevkurov(At that time, Major of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff). The special operation, for which Yevkurov received the Hero's star, is still classified as “secret”. In 2019 on the 20th anniversary of the forced march, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov in an exclusive interview with AiF revealed a number of details: “We were 38” people. regular military, the rest — civilians, including local Serbs who had previously helped us. We occupied the airport, pushing the local Bosnian bandit out of it. There were losses in the group. I myself was slightly wounded. There was intelligence data that simultaneously with the Russian column, the British were moving to the airport. They were sure that the airport was already in their pocket. The fact that the convoy of armored personnel carriers with paratroopers will pass unnoticed from  Bosnia, „partners“ it never even crossed my mind. They woke up late. If would have realized sooner — the British would have come first. The Russian paratroopers were ahead of the NATO by almost 4 hours. During this time they organized the defense of the object.

“The paratroopers knew that the mission was dangerous,  — says Georgy Shpak.    We selected only volunteers for the forced march. Later, participants in the events reported to me how the British forward patrol tank was met. He drove almost close to our junior sergeant. An English officer came out and said in broken Russian: „This is our area of ​​responsibility, get out!“ Our soldier replied that he had an order not to let anyone through. The Englishman requested a commander. Senior Lieutenant Nikolai Yatsykov came, with whom I personally spoke later. Yatsykov said that he was following the order of his command. The Englishman threatened that the checkpoint would now be crushed by tanks. The Russian officer ordered the sergeant, who had a grenade launcher in his hands: „Sight 7. Charge!“ Our sergeant knelt down with a grenade launcher. Then the British officer twisted his finger at  the temple, climbed into the tank, and the car drove away. 

Later it became known that the commander of the KFOR (international force under the leadership of NATO to maintain peace in Kosovo), English General Michael Jackson received a command from commander of NATO forces in Europe, the American General Wesley Clarkcrush the Russians. In this case, our 200 paratroopers would have to confront 10,000. NATO soldiers who had heavy weapons and aviation support. Our fighters came there to either win or die. General Jackson understood that the Russians would not give up, they would take the fight. And then he uttered the historical phrase: “I don't want to become the culprit of the beginning of the third world war”. Our people cannot be broken. Yes, Americans, Germans and other Europeans are trying to morally crush us, but it's useless. We stand like flint».

According to the plan of the operation, shortly after the capture of the airport “Slatina” military transport aircraft of the Russian Air Force were supposed to land on it, which were supposed to transfer at least two regiments of the Airborne Forces and heavy military equipment. This did not happen because Hungary (NATO member) and Bulgaria (NATO ally) denied Russia an air corridor. While the issue was being resolved, our 200 paratroopers, waiting for reinforcements, remained for several days one on one with NATO troops, ready to fight at any moment.

The Serbs, realizing that the Russians had a separate sector in Kosovo will not, they began to leave their native land. N. Yatsykov recalled: “I will never forget the eyes and the words of an elderly Serbian woman who, leaving Kosovo, said: 'Son, it didn't we it started, it started you».  ;

Yugoslavia broke up. And its leader Milosevic, who was the only one in Eastern Europe who resisted the dictates of the United States, was sent behind bars in The Hague, where he died in 2006  Shortly before  his death, he approached our people: "Russians! I now appeal to all Russians, residents of Ukraine and Belarus in the Balkans are also considered Russians. Look at us and remember:   you will be treated the same when disengaged  give up. West — chain mad dog — grabs you by the throat. Brothers, remember the fate of Yugoslavia! Don't  let me do the same to you!   

Help

● The bombing of Serbian cities lasted 78 days. They were attended by the US Air Force, Germany, France, England, Italy, Holland, Turkey, Spain, Denmark, Belgium, Norway and Portugal. Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania have provided NATO with their territory and airspace.

● Alliance aircraft made 35 219 sorties, using 23 000 bombs and missiles against the Serbs. 238 sea-launched cruise missiles were fired from ships and submarines.

● 217 industrial facilities were destroyed , 120 energy facilities, 48 ​​hospitals, 82 bridges, 70 schools, 18 kindergartens, 35 churches, 29 monasteries, 118 radio and television centers.

● Damage to the economy Serbia is valued at $30 billion

● 200 thous. Serbs left Kosovo, becoming refugees. 

Paratroopers march in Kosovo

© AIF/Vladimir Svartsevich

© AIF/Vladimir Svartsevich

© AIF/Vladimir Svartsevich

© AIF/Vladimir Svartsevich

© AIF/Vladimir Svartsevich

© AIF/Vladimir Svartsevich

© AIF/Vladimir Svartsevich

© AiF/Vladimir Svartsevich

© AIF/Vladimir Svartsevich

© AiF/Vladimir Svartsevich

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© AIF/Vladimir Svartsevich

© AIF/Vladimir Svartsevich

© AiF/Vladimir Svartsevich

Paratroopers March in Kosovo< /h2>

© AIF/Vladimir Svartsevich

© AiF/Vladimir Svartsevich

© AIF/Vladimir Svartsevich

© AiF/Vladimir Svartsevich

© AiF/Vladimir Svartsevich

© AIF/Vladimir Svartsevich

© AIF/Vladimir Svartsevich

© AIF/Vladimir Svartsevich

© AIF/Vladimir Svartsevich



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