reply to post by Nikola014
As a Russian, I am deeply ashamed for the Russian government in that it did not step in and help Serbia, in 1999. Yes, there was a threat of a larger
confrontation between Russia and NATO - but that threat was very unlikely. Chances are NATO would have stayed away if Russia had shown up with even a
moderately sizeable force. NATO wanted Serbia broken apart, but it did not want it so much that it would risk a confrontation with Russia (even as
weak as Russia was in 1999).
I do know that many top politicians in Russia favored supporting Serbia, to a point of even sending troops there. According to several Russian
generals, they already had a plan in place to position troops and equipment in key positions in Serbia right before NATO's attack. Supposedly there
were already several transport planes loaded up and ready to go, including planes with VDV troops (Russian Airborne Troops) and possibly a GRU
battalion (Spetsnaz). The confirmation to start the deployment never came from Moscow however. The generals were ready to send the forces anyway,
but at the last moment Bulgaria and Romania blocked the request from the Russians to use their airspace. Most likely NATO knew of these preparations,
and put pressure on them.
This same course of events was again repeated during the Pristina Incident ( en.wikipedia.org...
), where the Russians again were ready to deploy, and again Bulgaria and Romania
blocked the use of their airspace.
There was also increased presence of Russian intelligence, including military advisors already on the ground in Belgrade. Russians also had
submarines in the Mediterranean, trailing NATO's aircraft carriers and fleet. These included the Oskar II class submarines, and several of them might
have went undiscovered by NATO for the duration of deployment.
One of the main problems that prevented a Russian deployment was also Yeltsin. He was still interested in making deals with US. Additionally Russia
was getting ready to launch a new military operation in Chechnya, which became the Second Chechne War. Likely Yeltsin made a deal with the US that
the US will be less vocal in its protests of the war in Chechnya, and Russia will stay out of Kosovo.
In hindsight, Russia should have stood its group and supported Serbia. As the Incident in Pristina has shown, NATO was very cautious of confronting
Russia. If there was a bigger Russian deployment, NATO of course could still overpower it - but it would not risk it. NATO would have not carried
out the bombing campaign, if they knew Russian troops were stationed in the targeted areas.
I am also somewhat disappointed that Russia did not do anything when US granted independence to Kosovo, although I understand that by then it was too
late - Kosovo was firmly in NATO's grip and the time to act has passed. My only hopes are that if, or rather when the conflict in Kosovo restarts,
that Russia will back the Serbs. Russia is the only one who could back them at this point. If no one steps up to NATO, then the hope for neutral and
independent Europe (what is left of it) has passed. They will finish what they started in the Balkans, even if they will cause massive bloodshed and
violate international laws in doing so.
edit on 30-9-2011 by maloy because: (no reason given)