BELGRADE – Serbian First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic on Friday slammed as “brazen” a statement by Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic that Croatia’s 1995 military and police operation “Storm” “relieved the Serbs”.

“The statement by Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic that ‘Storm’ was an ethically pure victory and that it relieved the Serbs of the burden of Greater Serbia projects indicates that, for Croatia, it is ethically pure to kill thousands of Serbs and expel over 220,000 of them,” Dacic noted in a written statement.

It is sheer brazenness to say that “Storm” relieved the Serbs, he said.

“How? By taking their lives, leaving them without their homes and flats, fields and forests, without pensions, by driving them out of properties previously owned by their fathers and grandfathers. And who were those cities and villages liberated from when the Serbs were the absolute majority there?” Dacic noted.

“Operation Storm” is the largest ethnic cleansing in post-WWII Europe, Dacic said, adding that, according to the 1931 census, the Serbs had accounted for 18.45 pct of the population in Croatia, as opposed to just 4.36 pct in 2011.

“According to the 1991 census, there were 581,663 Serbs in Croatia, while 20 years on in 2011 – after “Storm” and other operations described by the Croatian president as ethically pure – there were just 186,633. Where had 400,000 Serbs gone in 20 years?” Dacic asked.

Instead of expressing a sense of guilt and compassion, Croatia is proud of this, as indicated by the speeches and Ustasha salutes in Knin, where Serbs accounted for 80 pct of the population in 1991, Dacic said.