Photo: jacutin / RIA Novosti
The former commander of the airborne troops of Russia Georgy Shpak said that the operation to capture the airfield in Pristina, Kosovo in 1999 was very thorough and did not involve plan B. this General said in an interview to RT.
According to Shpak, in early may 1999, he received an order from the chief of the General staff Anatoly Kvashnin about preparing a secret operation to capture the airfield. It was of strategic importance because it was located only in the province runway length of 2500 meters.
NATO countries wanted to exclude Russia’s participation in peacekeeping operations on the territory of the Autonomous province of Kosovo. Therefore, the Russian leadership decided to “remind the world that in your veins there are still Russian gunpowder,” says Shpak.
The operation to capture the airfield carefully prepared, plan B was not. There was also a danger of direct collision of the Russian battalion with NATO units. “Our troopers went to Pristina to win or die. But the Russian military command and personally had a strong belief: an armed response to the overwhelming arrogance of the Russian, NATO will not follow. They may be good soldiers — Americans, British, French, Germans. But such fighting qualities, as we do, they do not have”, — said the General.
When the Russian battalion occupied the airport, NATO troops have made several attempts to oust him, but direct confrontation was avoided. The commander of NATO forces in Europe ordered to attack the Russians, but his solution is not agreed, the British General Michael Jackson. “I don’t want to be the culprit of the third world war” — quoted his words Shpak. In his opinion, after this operation, the Federation became a full member of the peacekeeping mission.
From 24 March to 9 June 1999, Serbia and Montenegro, then part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), were subjected to NATO bombing. The official reason of the operation “allied force” was called ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.
In the night of 12 June 1999 Russian paratroopers, under the leadership of Yunus-Bek Yevkurov took control of all areas of the airport in Pristina, circled the wagons and setting up roadblocks. It was planned that the Marines will help to ensure the arrival of reinforcements from Russia.
After the March, a Russian battalion was left without supplies, hoping to get it on air planes. However, Hungary (a NATO member) and Bulgaria (a NATO ally), Russia refused to grant an air corridor. In the result, 200 Marines in a few days practically left alone with the visiting NATO forces. During lengthy negotiations, the parties managed to agree on the placement of Kosovo peacekeeping forces with the participation of Russian and NATO military. Russian troops were in Kosovo until 2003.
Video, photo All from Russia.