Disinfo: 1999 NATO bombings of Yugoslavia killed thousands


The NATO bombing of Yugoslavia which began on 24 March 1999 and ended on 10 June of the same year, according to sources, killed up to 2,500 people in the country. The official pretext for the launch of the operation was the protection of the Kosovo’s Albanian population “against ethnic cleansing and the humanitarian catastrophe”. 

Thus, the West reacted to the Serbian police and army operations to crush the resistance of the Kosovo Liberation Army, which is considered to be a terrorist in Serbia. Albanian terrorists committed their first attacks against Serbian civilians and policemen in Kosovo in 1996. 



Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the number of civilian casualties of NATO bombing, debunked by Polygraph three years ago.

The primary purpose of the campaign was to end violence and repression and force Milosevic to withdraw his military, police and para-military forces from Kosovo. (See NATO statement from 1999.)

Since the start of 1998, until the end of 2000, 13,500 persons lost their lives in clashes in Kosovo, out of which approximately 10,800 Albanians, 2,200 Serbian and around 500 Roma and other non-Albanians. United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia exhumated mass graves of Kosovo Albanians discovered on the territory of Serbia proper, for which almost no one has been indicted before domestic courts.


  • Reported in: Issue 142
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 26/03/2019
  • Language/target audience: French
  • Country: Kosovo, Serbia
  • Keywords: Yugoslavia, Kosovo, NATO


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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