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31 May 2024, 17:30

'Not just their war.' Why did Lukashenko fly to Yugoslavia amid NATO bombardments in 1999?

MINSK, 31 May (BelTA) – “Here, unfortunately, I have once again realized (already at the international level) how dirty politics is and how unscrupulous politicians are.” When did Lukashenko say these words? What did 1999 bring to humanity and Belarus? You will find the answers to these and other questions in the latest episode of How It Was project on BelTA’s YouTube channel.  

In a sense, 1999 was a landmark year for the entire world. Humanity was waiting for the turn of centuries. The already forgotten word "millennium" returned to use. Many soothsayers predicted the Apocalypse. The United States even set up a commission on the Year 2000.   

Belarusians kept their cool. The country that had recently recovered from devastation and shortages looked to the future with hope and cautious optimism. There was a lot of work ahead. While the young Belarusian state was making plans for a new five-year term, Europe again became a theater of military hostilities.

NATO’s aggression against Yugoslavia was cynically code-named by the USA Operation Noble Anvil. This operation killed and maimed thousands of civilians, and the country was torn into pieces. Could it be more ‘noble’?

While the world was silently watching the bombing of Belgrade and other cities, Aleksandr Lukashenko headed to Yugoslavia to express support for President Slobodan Milosevic. The Belarusian president was not given any security guarantees. Air raid sirens wailed twice during Lukashenko's negotiations with President Milosevic. Later, the Belarusian leader visited one of hospitals, where both Serbs and Albanians were recovering after the bombing. The sight was painful.



“My visit to Yugoslavia at this dramatic time can bring the resolution of the problem closer, at least a few millimeters, at least a little bit. The goal is to negotiate a peaceful solution. I didn’t want to say this now, but I will still say it: there is still a lot of politicking around this problem as to who will be the peacemaker. I don’t think that the West would immediately embrace a solution put forward by an undesirable broker, even if this solution is the best bet. Here, unfortunately, I have once again realized (already at the international level) how dirty politics is and how unscrupulous politicians are,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said during his visit to Yugoslavia.

1999 was also full of significant events for Belarus. A new presidential decree to guarantee jobs, a new MTZ tractor, and plans to resume contacts with Arab states.


A multi-pronged approach term made way into the Belarusian diplomatic rhetoric in 1999.

This and much more are in the latest episode of How It Was project on BelTA’s YouTube channel.
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