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Mariupol, Kharkiv and Bucha like Sarajevo in 1992

By Stephan Schwartz * - Today it is Mariupol, Kharkiv or #Bucha, at the time it was #Sarajevo30,

Stefan Shwarz was himself a member of the German Bundestag; he frequently writes on Balkans and Bosnia (Courtesy Bosnian media photo for education only)

Stefan Shwarz was himself a member of the German Bundestag; he frequently writes on Balkans and Bosnia (Courtesy Bosnian media photo for education only)

Višegrad or Srebrenica. 30 years ago from today the Bosnian Serbs, with support from Belgrade, began the siege of the Bosnian capital that was to last 1425 days. A  on this sad anniversary and… also on parallels and differences: Unlike #Ukraine today, at the time the international community treated the siege of Sarajevo almost until the end as a “humanitarian problem”. So the UN supplied the residents of Sarajevo for 3 years with food via an airlift, often interrupted..

… because Serbian forces shelled the airport. Like the Russian troops in Ukraine today, the Serbian besiegers shot from the surrounding mountains at residential buildings and civilians, for example when they had to queue for water supply or search for wood to heat their homes..

…disconnected from utilities. Those who had to leave their houses to pick up humanitarian aid were on the streets and squares of Sarajevo on display for the besiegers. Snipers were stationed on high-rise buildings in the divided city, randomly targeting civilians.

While today the West is supporting Ukraine with arms supplies, the UN had at the time imposed an arms embargo on the defenders of Bosnian sovereignty. The Serbian besiegers, on the other hand, were able to use weaponry from the Yugoslav People’s Army at the beginning and.

later received supplies from Belgrade, with the leadership under Milosevic paying the salaries of the Bosnian Serbs’ officers. Each day of the siege, an average of 329 shells fell on the city, killing at least 6.000 civilians by the end.

On February 5, 1994 alone, an artillery shell killed 68 civilians and injured 200 in a market square. Similar to the Russian denials after committing war crimes in Bucha, the besiegers of Sarajevo also pretended not to have fired that one shell…

Only after a second bloodbath on the same market in August 1995 and after the massacre of 8000 boys and men in Srebrenica did #NATO start Operation Deliberate Force mandated by the UN to force the end of the siege of Sarajevo…
This then led to the #Dayton Agreement in December 1995, which has ensured a fragile peace in BiH ever since. As a lesson for Ukraine and possible negotiations in the future: Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic came to Dayton …

as a courted partner and co-signatory although being the main responsible for brutal wars of disintegration in ex-Yugoslavia. After Dayton the Serbian paramilitaries and armed forces moved on to Kosovo where they committed new massacres and ethnic cleansing. Only in 1999 NATO finally stopped #Milosevic with a 79 day air war. The Serbian President was overthrown during a popular uprising in Belgrade on October 5, 2000 and handed over to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague a few months later by the successor government. A trial for war crimes, crimes..

against humanity and genocide started, but Milosevic died in his cell before the end of the trial in March 2006 of a heart attack. Western politicians are now also openly labeling Vladimir #Putin as a war criminal. The West wants to skip the “Dayton phase”.

this time. In retrospect, compared to Putin, Slobodan Milosevic almost seems like a man with handshake qualities. Negotiating with Putin is like trying to shake hands with a fish, kremnologists say. Regardless of the very different circumstances..

Dayton doesn’t seem worth imitating anyway. As Dayton’s guarantor, the West bears a share of the responsibility for the fact that BiH is hardly viable as a state even more than 25 years after the end of the war and does not come to rest.

Despite the siege of Sarajevo and genocide in Eastern Bosnia, the Bosnian Serbs were “rewarded” in Dayton with a constituent republic, the “Republika Srspka”, whose leader Milorad #Dodik celebrates good relations with Putin and is currently threatening to split off from

Ukraine would even less likely be stable after a ceasefire with Putin, for example, forced by the West. From today’s perspective, one cannot imagine whether Putin, like Milosevic, will one day end up in The Hague..

But even with Milosevic, the trip to the Yugoslavia tribunal was not foreseeable in Dayton and up to the NATO intervention in 1999, despite his trail of destruction from Croatia to Bosnia. A key difference between Putin’s war in Ukraine and ex-Yugoslavia.

Russia is a nuclear power, and the threat of global conflict is real. In the regionally limited wars of disintegration in the former Yugoslavia, this danger hardly existed. Overall, however, more than 200,000 people died and several million had to flee. Last.

parallels between Putin and Milosevic: As former communists, both have tried to reinvent themselves as nationalists to maintain their power. Putin speaks of the “Russian world” when he denies Ukraine’s right to exist and refers to the Ukrainians as .

little Russians who should be part of a Russian “motherland”. Slobodan Milosevic’s goal was Greater Serbia. Parts of Croatia and Bosnia with a Serb population and Kosovo as “Srpski Jerusalem” were to be incorporated into Greater Serbia with brutal force.

* Stefan Schwarz was a member of the Bundestag. He frequently writes on Bosnia and Balkans.

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