Croatian Leaders Celebrate 1995 Victory Over Rebel Serbs

Croatia's political leadership gathered on Monday in the Dalmatian town of Knin to celebrate the 24th anniversary of the military offensive that snuffed out a rebel Serbian statelet and ended Croatia's 1991-95 war of independence from Yugoslavia.

The official programme began early in the morning in Knin - the former headquarters of the breakaway Serbian statelet - with an army orchestra playing patriotic songs. Candles were lit and respects paid to fallen Croatian soldiers at the monument dedicated to the victory of Operation Storm [Oluja] on Knin's central square. The events were due to end on Monday night with a concert.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic in a speech in Knin called Operation Storm "a crucial venture by which we ensured the survival of the Croatian state and its territorial integrity for future generations.

"We respectfully and proudly recall all the fallen Croatian heroes on the battlefields across Croatia," Plenkovic added. Efforts would not stop to bring justice to the victims and to clarify war crimes, he continued.

Oluja je bila presudan pothvat kojim smo osigurali opstojnost hrvatske države i njezinu teritorijalnu cjelovitost za buduće naraštaje. S poštovanjem i ponosom prisjećamo se svih palih hrvatskih heroja na bojištima diljem Hrvatske.

— Andrej Plenković (@AndrejPlenkovic) August 5, 2019

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic thanked everyone who had "defended the homeland" in the war that began in 1991 and ended in the summer of 1995.

"Then, 24 years ago, a strong message was sent to the whole world, and that message is that we Croats are a proud nation and that we have our undeniable right to decide our own fate," Grabar-Kitarovic said.

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