Russia uses 1999 NATO bombing in media war over Crimea

Scene from 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia

Russian television blasted viewers with 15-year-old footage of NATO bombing raids, burning buildings and wounded people in Yugoslavia on Monday to step up a media campaign against the West over the Crimea crisis.

State television and newspapers used the anniversary of the start of the bombing campaign to depict the West as hypocritical for saying Crimea has no right to secede from Ukraine when NATO used force to help Kosovo escape Slobodan Milosevic’s clutches.

A church in Kosovo destroyed by NATO bombing

A special programme on state TV called The Serbian Tragedy: 15 Years hammered home Russia’s message that the United States and NATO are to blame for redrawing global borders, encouraging separatism and flouting international law.

“The result of the NATO aggression was the final collapse of Yugoslavia and the unilateral declaration of Kosovo’s independence to applause from Washington and most European capitals,” government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta said.

“One can only wonder at the overt hypocrisy of Western politicians who now accuse Russia – which Crimea has joined as the result of a popular referendum, and practically without a shot fired – of violating international law,” it said.