Balkans mark 23rd anniversary of Operation Storm

By Sanela Crnovrsanin, Stipe Majic, and Lejla Biogradlija

KNIN, Croatia / BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – Thousands of people gathered in Croatia and Serbia on Sunday to mark the 23rd anniversary of Operation Storm (Oluja).

Operation Storm, carried out through Aug. 4-5, 1995 was a joint operation by Croatian police and military to liberate its territory in Knin.

Croatia celebrates the day as Victory Day, while Serbia commemorates as Remembrance Day.

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, and Croat member of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency Dragan Covic were among those who attended the ceremony in Knin.

Speaking at the ceremony, Kitarovic said the days ahead are more important than the loss suffered in the past.

“The operation ensured the liberation of the northern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Plenkovic said.

Meanwhile, a commemoration ceremony was held at Backa Palanka town of northwestern Serbia.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic recalled that many Serbs were expelled to Croatia during the operation.

“If this isn’t ethnic cleansing, what is? If this is not a crime, what does a crime look like to you?” Vucic said.

He said not even a single person was produced for a trial in court.

“We will stand by our people, we will not allow anyone to humiliate them,” Vucic added.

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