Heroes 26/12/19 “roll Pristina”: why the Russian General spoil of Americans

on the night of June 12, 1999, the consolidated battalion airborne Russian Armed forces, which was part of the peacekeeping contingent based in Bosnia and Herzegovina, suddenly NATO command occupied the airport of Slatina (city Pristina, Kosovo). In the Western press, this story is called “Pristina incident”, in Russian — “roll Pristina”.

what was

the Situation in the Balkans in the late 90-ies of the last century was very difficult. The disintegration of Yugoslavia brought to life a long-standing conflict between Serbs, Croats, Albanians and other ethnic and religious groups, anciently inhabited this region. Army of Yugoslavia (Serbia) and the Kosovo liberation Army (Albanians) started a military conflict. The Serbs, despite NATO ultimatum, refused to withdraw troops from Kosovo. In response, it began the infamous bombing of Yugoslavia by NATO aircraft.

In this situation, the Slatina airport, has a runway capable of taking military aircraft of various types, were of special importance. Russia tried to prevent the beginning of the bombing, insisted on the negotiation process, however, the US and NATO of Russia’s arguments are not accepted. However, despite the weakness and low credibility of the then government of Russia, our country has had its own geopolitical interests in the Balkans. The Serbs were and are traditional allies and friends of our country, our people share a common religion, similar culture and glorious pages of the history.

How did the cast of Pristina

March was preceded by a top-secret operation, conducted under the command of major Yunus-Bek Yevkurov. He was ordered to covertly enter the territory of Kosovo at the head of the group, which consisted of 18 special forces troops GRU of the General staff of Russia, and to take under controlthe role of the airport Slatina. By early June the order was made. Meanwhile, on June 12 was planned in Kosovo of NATO forces.

June 10, the Russian peacekeeping force based in Bosnia and Herzegovina, received the order to prepare mechanized column and a battalion of paratroopers numbering 200 people. Early on the morning of 11 June the convoy started to move towards the border of Yugoslavia. In secrecy, the Marines traveled more than 600 kilometers and 7 hours 30 minutes arrived in Slatina. By this time 18 fighters of special troops GRU under the command of Yunus-Bek Yevkurov took the airport under its control. The operation was carried out so quickly and quietly that the sight of Russian Armored vehicles came as a surprise for the British armored column arrived in the vicinity of Pristina, 20 minutes later, after Russian troops took defensive positions and set up checkpoints.

the Serbs were met by our fighters with genuine joy. They went to meet with flowers, food and even kissing the armor of military vehicles.

As was provided secrecy

of Course, such brilliant conduct of the military operation would have been impossible, had leaked. The highest level of secrecy from the very beginning was the main condition and guarantee of success.

the Head this historic March, the airborne troops Colonel Sergei Pavlov, says that the operation has been kept secret from NATO by stealth: the allies had said that the military machine running for some routine maintenance. Not expected from a Russian like coherence and clarity of action, officers of the North Atlantic bloc “clap” the beginning of the operation. And when they realized that the Russian has gone on inspection, it was too late. Tell the story that General Wesley Clark, who commanded NATO forces in Europe, ordered to lift into the air heavy combat plane stationed at the airport in Germany and to stop the column going to Pristina. However, with the rise of a supposedly detached the oxygen tank and started to hang out the cabin. This threatened emergency situation and the pilot decided to return.

Tactical Buster

However, there is another reason NATO has “flip-flopped” the departure of the Russian column. A Russian unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina was part of the international division of SFOR. Now, on the eve of the March, Deputy airborne forces commander for peacekeeping forces, General Nikolai Staskov, offered to arrange a friendly party. It was held under the code name “water American.” Was covered with a sumptuous feast and invited all NATO commanders. The guests were welcomed by Colonel Ignatov. He regaled Americans with the true Russian hospitality. When the convoy it was time to move “for inspection”, the carousal was in full swing. Eyewitnesses recall that NATO officers, much fun at the table of Colonel Ignatov, a few days could not come in itself.

the Results of the throw

to Stay in Pristina Russian troops, unfortunately, failed. When the military retreated into the shadows, pitch policy, and Russian is gradually “squeezed out” from Kosovo. However brilliantly conducted operation Pristina made it clear to the world that the Russians, in spite of everything, strong and need to be considered. March to Pristina was one of the episodes that marked the beginning of Russia’s transition to an independent foreign policy.

Olga Melnikova

© Russian Seven

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