Disinfo: NATO bombings of Yugoslavia in 1999 killed thousands


NATO bombings of Yugoslavia in 1999 killed thousands.

The necessity of the existence of NATO was explained in the post-Soviet era with the maintenance of democracy and stability in Central and Eastern Europe. In 1999 this led to bomb attacks on Yugoslavia. The military operation, which also killed peaceful civilians, lasted 78 days.  Counting thousands of victims, and with destroyed infrastructure – Yugoslavia was dissolved as a state.


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

In Serbia (excluding Kosovo) and Montenegro, 275 persons lost their lives in the NATO bombings: 180 civilians, 90 members of the Yugoslav Armed Forces, five members of the Ministry of Interior of Serbia.

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.)

Read more about disinformation about the war in former Yugoslavia here and here.


  • Reported in: Issue149
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 07/05/2019
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Serbia
  • Keywords: Western Balkans, Bosnia war, War crimes, 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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Poland to build a memorial site to Adolf Hitler at Wolf’s Lair

Adolf Hitler’s quarters, Wolf’s Lair, was initially situated on the territory of East Prussia. After WWII, in order to avoid revival of Nazism, Stalin granted this territory to Poland. Now ungrateful descendants of “unboiled soap” plan to build a Hitler memorial site there.


There are no plans to build a Hitler memorial.

This message is part of the recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about omnipresence of Nazis in Europe.

The EU and the US block rebuilding of Syria

Rebuilding of Syria is blocked by EU sanctions and US oil embargo. Millions were devoted for the reconstruction of Notre-Dame, but the reconstruction and restoration of the Syrian churches takes place only sporadically with church and private funds.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Syrian war.

The EU is the leading donor in the international response to the Syrian crisis. In 2017, the EU, together with Ministers from Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US emphasised that recovery and reconstruction support for Syria hinges on a credible political process leading to a genuine political transition that can be supported by a majority of the Syrian people.

The Council of Europe will die without Russia’s membership

In a few weeks, two years will have passed since Russia stopped paying its annual contributions to the Council of Europe. Moscow is not concerned with this situation and is ready to leave the organisation. The Council of Europe will ultimately die without Russia.

If Russia leaves, the European Court of Human Rights will bear the greatest negative consequences as it will lose the largest human-rights ‘market’. This will result in a strong blow to the Council of Europe’s prestige.


This message is consistent with the pro-Kremlin narrative about the imminent collapse of Western and European institutions. Examples of the cases following this narrative include: a dying EU promotes an anti-Russian, anti-democratic agenda and NATO is useless.

After the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia's voting rights in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) were suspended. In protest, Russia stopped paying its annual contributions to the Council of Europe (CoE) in June 2017.