Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Croatian Cannons Used in Homeland War Now Defending Ukraine

September the 21st, 2022 - Croatian cannons and other weaponry which were used to defend the likes of Zadar, Sukosan and Sibenik from Serbian onslaught are now being used once again to help defend Ukraine from Russian aggression.

Croatia's more recent experience with war than any other European country puts it in a better position to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia than most other nations, and to know that the weapons used during the Homeland War which saw Croatia become an independent state and fend off Serbian aggression are now aiding Ukraine in its mission to send the Russians packing is one of those full circle stories.

As Morski/Jurica Gaspar writes, the recently delivered Croatian cannons (M-46, 130 mm caliber) are already being used on the front lines in Ukraine, and these weapons are precisely those cannons which once defended Sukosan, Zadar and Sibenik, and were also an important factor in the Maslenica liberation operation.

''The Ukrainian Army is already using them on the front lines in the Donetsk region. In addition to the M-46 cannons, the Ukrainian Army received a significant amount of ammunition,'' it was announced on the Ukraine Weapons Tracker Twitter page.

''Those Croatian cannons were also with us in Zadar. More precisely in Sukosan,'' explained Zadar Weekly journalist Sinisa Klarica, who himself participated in the Homeland War in the 112th brigade of the ZNG and the 159th brigade of the Croatian Army.

''I saw them when I went to intervene in Debeljak in the 159th brigade. They were right next to the cemetery in Sukosan. At that time, we camouflaged the cannons well, so I'm not sure how many of them there were.

The Croatian cannons that defended Sibenik and were also key in the Maslenica liberation operation, and they're now doing the same job over in Ukraine in some of the areas of the country where the fighting is most intense.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Monday, 18 July 2022

Vukovar 1991 Association of Lawyers Calls on Vučić to Allow Visit to Stajićevo

ZAGREB, 18 July 2022 - The Vukovar 1991 association of lawyers on Monday called on Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić to fulfill his promise and make it possible for the association and former Croatian camp inmates to make the agreed visit to the former Stajićevo prisoner of war camp.

In a press release, the association recalls that six years ago, on 16 July 2016, through the mediation of German lawmaker Josip Juratović and the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the then Prime Minister of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić received an official delegation of the lawyers' association Vukovar 1991, which consisted of Zoran Šangut and Pero Kovačević.

At the meeting, they discussed the non-prosecution of war crimes committed in camps in Serbia (Stajićevo, Begejci, Sremska Mitrovica, Niš and Belgrade) against Croatian inmates, and a visit to Stajićevo, the installation of a memorial plaque at the site of the former camp, lighting candles and laying wreaths.

Vučić promised us at the meeting that he would allow a visit to the site of the former Stajićevo camp, the installation of a memorial plaque, lighting candles and laying wreaths in October 2016, the association's deputy head, Pero Kovačević, said in the press release.

He pointed out he had agreed all the details of the official protocol for that visit with Vučić's advisor Veran Matić, but that Vučić had cancelled it when the date of the visit was decided.

Kovačević said that with today's letter, they remind Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić of the unfulfilled promise, calling on him to allow an official visit to Stajićevo, the installation of a memorial plaque, laying wreaths and lighting candles in commemoration of the killed Croatian camp inmates in that and other camps in Serbia.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Supreme Court Orders New Retrial of JNA General for Blowing Up Peruća Dam

ZAGREB, 31 May 2022 - Croatia's Supreme Court has quashed a guilty verdict in the case of ex-JNA general Borislav Đukić, who was sentenced to ten years in prison for war crimes against civilian population by Split County Court in late 2020, and has ordered a new retrial.

The second retrial against this Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) general, who was tried and convicted of blowing up the Peruća dam in 1993 during the Homeland War, will again be held in the Split County Court.

The Supreme Court has sustained the defendant's appeal, explaining that the first-instance ruling, delivered by the Split Court, contained contradictory and incomprehensible arguments.

Đukić was arrested in Montenegro in July 2015 and handed over to Croatia in March 2016.

In the first trial which ended in the late 2018, he was sentenced to nine years for war crimes, and in a retrial in 2020 he was sentenced to ten years.

During the 1991-1995 war, Đukic served as commander of a Yugoslav army motorised brigade and Croatian Serb paramilitary forces operating near the border with Bosnia. Evidence presented during the trial showed that in 1993 he had ordered 30 tonnes of explosives to destroy the Peruća dam, located about 50 kilometres inland from the southern coastal city of Split.

The explosion caused damage valued at a total of about 130 million kuna (17.5 million euros). The direct damage was 90 million kuna (120 million euros), while 10 million German marks was spent on repairing the dam.

Although the damage done was severe, workers managed to prevent a major flooding of the areas downstream, which would have endangered the lives of some 50,000 people.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 29 May 2022

Galbraith: International Community was Wrong not to Prevent War in 1990s

ZAGREB, 29 May 2022 - The international community had the wrong approach in the 1990s because it was focused on maintaining Yugoslavia instead of preventing the war, former US ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith said on Sunday.

Thirty years ago, the break-up of the state simply wasn't accepted, so when Croatia and Slovenia declared independence, there was a lot of opposition, but it weakened with the break-up of the Soviet Union, he told the press ahead of a conference on 30 years since the international recognition of Croatia.

The international community, including the United States, had the wrong approach then because the problem was not the break-up of Yugoslavia's nor the independence of Croatia and Slovenia, the problem was the war, said the US ambassador to Croatia from 1993 to 1998.

Instead of preserving Yugoslavia, we should have concentrated on preventing the war, which was a big tragedy, he added.

Speaking at the conference, Galbraith said the 1990s were a series of events whose outcome could easily have been completely different. He is glad, he added, that today, as a peaceful democracy, a NATO and EU member, Croatia has become a diplomatically very boring state.

"Today when they ask me about Croatia, they only ask which places to visit and which restaurants to go to", he said.

Galbraith said that Croatia-US relations were not as they were in the 1990s, when the US was at the peak of its geopolitical power. That power has inevitably weakened, which was accelerated by the mistakes of former presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump, he added.

Croatia is part of the EU and NATO, and has no crises. America was here because there was a war, he said.

Galbraith said that before 1993 and the sending of an ambassador, the feeling in the US was that the situation in Yugoslavia was hopeless. Many did not see the difference between what Serbia and Croatia were doing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which changed thanks to the engagement of the Croatian authorities, he added.

Speaking of Croatia's then president Franjo Tuđman and defence minister Gojko Šušak, he said it seemed they did not fully accept BiH's territorial integrity.

But in the key moment, choosing between continuing to support Bosnian Croats in their conflict with the Muslims and a partnership with the US in the reintegration of occupied territories, they chose the second, he added.

After that decision, the US stepped up its engagement, which led to the Washington Agreement and the peaceful reintegration of eastern Croatia, Galbraith said.

Commenting on a war crimes indictment against Croatian pilots recently announced by Serbia, he said the proceedings held at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia had been very important, very good, just, and that no one escaped justice.

Galbraith said he therefore did not see how Serbia could think that it had jurisdiction to prosecute crimes that did not take place on its territory.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 27 May 2022

Plenković: Gov't Will Do Its Best to Protect Indicted Air Force Pilots

ZAGREB, 27 May 2022 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Friday that government officials had met with Croatian Air Force pilots who had taken part in the 1995 Operation Storm, stressing that all available mechanisms would be used to protect them from an indictment from Serbia.

"We discussed the latest developments following media reports that indictments are being prepared in Serbia, at the request of their prosecutor, against four pilots, Air Force commanders at the time of the military and police operation Storm," Plenković said at the start of a government session.

He said that they still did not have any concrete documents or requests for legal assistance but that they would do everything to protect the pilots.

"As before, the government will use all the available mechanisms to protect the Croatian pilots and the dignity of the Homeland War, thus sending a clear message about the fundamental values on which free Croatia is founded," said Plenković.

He said that during the Homeland War no orders had been issued, especially not in the Air Force, that would in any way be directed against civilian targets, repeating that the Homeland War, notably its operations Storm and Flash, had been part of efforts to liberate, protect and reintegrate Croatian territory.

Plenković repeated that with the indictment Serbia "is making a step backward in reconciliation", stressing that he had conveyed his dissatisfaction with the indictment to Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić at a meeting in Davos.

The Serbian war crimes prosecutor has issued an indictment charging four Croatian officers with having ordered, on 7 and 8 August 1995, a missile attack on a refugee convoy, but the prosecutor's office has said that the indictment is not final and that the proceedings currently underway are not public.

According to unofficial reports, the indictment refers to Croatian Air Force pilots Vladimir Mikac, Zdenko Radulj, Željko Jelenić, and Danijel Borović.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Milanović Tells Serbia Indictment Against Croatian Pilots Will Cost It

ZAGREB, 24 May 2022 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović said on Tuesday that indicting four high-ranking Croatian Army officers for alleged war crimes will cost Serbia, calling out politicians in that country for "unintelligent behaviour" with which Serbia will never succeed in joining the European Union.

Serbia's War Crimes Prosecutor's Office indicted four high-ranking Croatian Army officers for alleged war crimes. They are accused of shelling a refugee column during the military Operation Storm on 7 and 8 August 1995.

"These indictments have occurred despite our years-long attempts to convince them not to play with fire and that it will cost them. I cannot be more polite, I hope they are listening to me. Leave that alone. Otherwise, they should not be surprised by reactions by right-wing lawmakers in the Sabor. The problem is that the majority of people in Croatia think like that," Milanović told reporters.

Asked by N1 television if he was afraid of being indicted for his speech in Glina in 1995 as a possible response to Serbia indicting four Croatian generals, Serbia's President Aleksandar vučić said "the Serbs didn't kill Croatians, it was the Croatians who killed Serbs."

Milanović called on Vučić "not to do that." "I can keep things rhetorically under control to a certain measure. But then this comes from Belgrade and how then can I explain that we pursue a well-intentioned policy?"

Milanović said that these moves by Serbia were "unintelligent behaviour" by a state that is "impoverished and degraded," and that does not have its status resolved anywhere.

"They don't want to join NATO, OK. They will never join the European Union this way. Who needs this? Who is pursuing this policy? Which citizens there is the prosecutor's office addressing?" Milanović said.

He went on to say that he is convinced that 75% of citizens would support his and the Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's common stance about Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that just as many people in Croatia believe that "Croatian prosecutorial authorities should indict Vučić."

Milanović however said that that should not be done because Vučić is "being tactical." "And then we hear that nobody killed anyone, but instead the Croatians killed Serbs," he added.

"I am sorry for every Serb who was killed. They need not have been. But a huge majority of Serbs fled straight away. That is a fact. Even the tribunal in The Hague confirmed that," said Milanović.

"Serb brethren, come to your senses," Milanović said, adding that he would probably now be proclaimed an "Ustasha." "Last week I was a Serb."

"We have to be clear and just in our relations with Serbia, articulate what we expect of them," he added

Last week the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts called on Serbia to stop inciting animosity against Croatia and prosecuting Croatian citizens, to renounce Greater Serbia propaganda and respect its obligations in line with agreements, such as protecting the reciprocal rights of the Croat minority and ensuring for Croats free political and cultural organising, as Croatia ensures for the Serb minority.

TFor more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 20 May 2022

Milanović: Special Forces Are the Elite and Must Have a Spotless Reputation

ZAGREB, 20 May 2022 - President and Supreme Commander of the Croatian Armed Forces Zoran Milanović said on Friday on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the establishment of the Special Forces that members of these units are the elite and their reputation has to be spotless.

"We need to remember that of the 75 of your friends, combatants, Croatian knights, who were killed, thirty of them were born in Bosnia and Herzegovina and half of the remaining 45 probably had their roots in BiH," Milanović said.

"That was a time when Croatia was defended by sons from small communities and towns and the least of them came from downtown Zagreb and other large cities," he claimed. "We must not forget them. We must not forget their children and descendants. They are a part of us in another country and we must not betray them." 

We are not in alliances for them but for us

Milanović said that excellent skills can best be gained in cooperation and interaction with others. "Small nations and small armies cannot advance if they aren't in constant contact with what is on the outside, with what is different and open. That is the fate and imperative of small nations because a small nation that is closed within itself degenerates," he added.

"We aren't in all those alliances for their sake but our own," the president stressed.

National policy and security are an important priority and they are defined by the democratically elected government, concluded Milanović.

The president laid a wreath and lit a candle at a cross in front of a memorial room in the barracks in Delnice in honour of the members of the Special Forces who were killed. Tribute to the fallen soldiers was also paid by Brigadier General Perica Turalija on behalf of the Defence Ministry and Hungary's military attache to Croatia.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Milanović: Croatia Was Liberated By Its Own Forces And Not By International Coalition

ZAGREB, 13 May 2022 - President Zoran Milanović, who is the Supreme Commander of the Croatian Armed Forces, said in Petrinja on Friday that during the 1991-1995 Homeland War Croatia had not been liberated by an international coalition but "was successfully defended by its own forces."

Addressing an oath-taking ceremony for members of the 2nd Mechanised Battalion, President  Milanović told them that their predecessors "first defended and then liberated the country with very limited quantities of weapons." 

Milanović added that "the Croatian Army did not have foreign help at the time and Croatia was defended by its own forces, their heroism, ingenuity, cunning and courage."

"Croatia was not liberated by an international coalition. Croatia was liberated exclusively by Croatian forces relying solely on their own abilities – by Croatian sons and daughters, who joined forces with our brothers from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"The siege of Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina was not lifted by American and British planes, but by the Croatian Army and Croatian brigades – not by allied bombs, but by the Croatian Army at the entrance to Banja Luka," he said referring to the developments as a result of the 1995 Operation Storm.

"Only then was the siege of Sarajevo lifted and negotiations on the Dayton Accords began. These are very important things. There are still many witnesses. This will not be easily forgotten," he said.

Noting that "small nations cannot fight big battles," Milanović said that "when the big ones fight, the little ones move away and look after their own interests."

"We don’t have thousands of tanks, we won’t have them and we don’t need them. We must manage smartly, responsibly and cunningly what we have."

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 2 May 2022

History of Vukovar or History in Vukovar? No, Our Future Please

May 3, 2022 – Vukovar is indeed full of life. The 3rd of May is Vukovar Day, marking the day it became a free royal town in 1231, and the day of Saints Philip and James who became Vukovar’s patron saints when their church was built in 1723.

Traditionally, this day is a bank holiday in Vukovar, with celebrations and events in the city centre. With the Svi zaJedno Hrvatsko Naj festival leaning onto Vukovar Day, the city becomes the site of culture, sports, gastronomy, music, and more, for over a week. And if you take a closer look, you will see that it’s Vukovar’s youngest who make the city come alive. The little ones are jumping with joy and running between the stalls, the decorations, and the popcorn vendors, and our high schoolers are even here to teach us something. And if you listen closely, you can hear them speak both Croatian and Serbian.history vukovar.jpg

Courtesy of TZ Vukovar / Marko Balaži

This co-existence in Vukovar still sparks debate among those who know about its history, and curiosity among those who are yet to learn. On this Vukovar day, we decided to have a look at history in hopes of making a step in the right direction for our future. We went to schools in Vukovar, both primary and secondary, where we had a chance to speak to the headmasters and teachers. The guiding thought was the idea that the subject of history is a sensitive area, especially in Serbian minority classes. This question has been explored before, with varying conclusions, so we wanted to see where we stand in 2022. The outcome is interesting, but not surprising, refreshing, and yet completely normal.

The demography of Vukovar

Vukovar has historically been a diverse urban centre, whose population throughout the 20th century was made up of the Croatian, Serbian, Hungarian and German nationalities to varying extents, with the Serbian population steadily growing and reaching 25,5% in 1948 and 32,3% in 1990, whereas the German and Hungarian population significantly declined during the same period. In 1990, the Croatian population made 47,2% of its 44,639 inhabitants. It is important to note that the social structure of the city kept changing throughout the 20th century due to the Yugoslavian policies, as well as the fact that the socialist state discouraged expressing religious beliefs or national identity in everyday life. Our interlocutors who have lived all their lives in Vukovar shared that in pre-war Vukovar “you wouldn’t know other people’s nationalities or beliefs” (I.A., 68), “unless in a political situation, no one cared” (A.J., 63), “in everyday human lives it did not matter one bit, we all played together as kids, grew up together and watched our children grow up together” (J.G., 72). Their memories of the city make their faces light up and their eyes sparkle, and they happily share stories of life by the river, the best ice cream, friendship, and family. The things that mattered. Of course, the events of 1991 shattered that image of the city and it took decades to start even imagining something like that again.history of vukovar.png

"The Danube Bath", courtesy of Vukovar Municipal Museum

Model A for the education of national minorities

Like anywhere else, the rights of national minorities in Croatia are emphasized and respected in all aspects of life. One of the areas serving as a constant source of inspiration for debate in Vukovar is schooling. In Croatia, schools follow a three-model system (A, B, C) with several additional programs (such as summer school ). In model A, minority language and writing systems are fully adopted, with the Croatian language taking an equal amount of school hours as the minority language. Model B uses both Croatian and minority languages, with social subjects taught in the minority language. Model C teaches minority languages and cultures as an additional subject, with all other instruction and teaching done in Croatian.

In Vukovar, models A and C are most often chosen by minorities, with model A being the most likely choice of the Serbian national minority. What this means is that schools following model A will often have students of the same age group take separate classes based on the chosen model (i.e. if they are a member of the minority group or not). The purpose of the three models is the preservation of minority languages and cultures with enough flexibility to accommodate for integration.

Peaceful reintegration of the Danube Region and the history moratorium

One of the conditions of the Serbian representatives in the peace negotiations of 1997 was that there was a moratorium put on the teaching of Vukovar’s recent history in national minority classes. The moratorium lasted 5 years and officially ended in 2003. From 2003 to 2022 it has been a rocky road, and there were numerous attempts to have a peek behind the scenes and see if the sensitive parts of history are being taught in minority classrooms. Sensationalist headlines would appear, stating that Croatian history is only taught over something like 3 pages in the Serbian textbook written in Serbian using the Cyrillic writing, that teachers deliberately skip and ignore the whole section, that they twist it, etc. Having spoken to headmasters, teachers, parents, and students, the truth is simple – it is highly individual, and if teachers feel strongly about the topic, they might be inclined to adapt their way of teaching. The opinions of parents are varying, some feel strongly, and some don’t, depending mostly on the generation they belong to. What probably sums it up best, are the words of the mother of a second-grader, stating that “we cannot avoid the topic, certainly not in 2022. No matter which classroom my children attend, they will learn about the events and hopefully, they will be able to form their own opinions. What we want for them is to live a normal life and grow up in a society of equal opportunity”. (S.G.)

The headmasters of primary schools and secondary schools all agree that they are currently facing much bigger issues, some caused by the pandemic, some by the modern way of life, but that history on this or that side has become a rather dry topic which is not in their control anyway. They emphasize that having started from completely separate classrooms, teachers, subjects, and extracurricular activities, students these days all play together, attend workshops and sports clubs, take part in competitions and plays, and even go on excursions, exchanges, and cultural events together, forming separate groups around things like celebrity crushes, candy or games, and not nationality.

Like it or not, Vukovar is healing as nature always finds a way

The honest truth is it has been 30 years and time and nature have started doing their thing. A change of generations has happened. Make no mistake, what happened in Vukovar in 1991 were inhuman atrocities that can never be denied, and there is a lot of injustice still making it that much harder even after 30 years. Unfortunately, those who deserve punishment might never be punished for the crimes they committed but let us not punish those who had nothing to do with it, those who are at the same time the future of our city. Children are children, they might grow up to become assholes or they might go on to save the world. They might learn history in Croatian written in Latin writing, or that could be Serbian in Cyrillic writing. Chances are, they will find it equally boring and would much rather play than study. Some might be fascinated by it. They are all different. We are all different. Maybe it’s time to start learning from the young ones and celebrate diversity while working together for a better future for all of us. history of vukovar 2.jpg

 National day against peer violence, courtesy of OŠ Siniše Glavaševića

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 1 May 2022

State Leaders Lay Wreaths, Light Candles, Thank Those Killed in Operation Flash

ZAGREB, 1 May 2022 - Laying wreaths and lighting candles at a memorial in Okučani on Sunday, the state leadership honoured those killed in the 1 May 1995 Operation Flash, all those who, it was said, were within reach of freedom and victory, but did not live to see it.

In the operation, 7,200 soldiers and police in less than 32 hours liberated western Slavonia, about 600 square kilometres of Croatian territory which had been occupied four years.

Milanović: Croatian Army stopped the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina

"Operation Flash was a big victory of the Croatian Army, one in a series that followed after the attempt to destroy Vukovar in late 1991", President Zoran Milanović said.

"With the first operations to liberate western Slavonia, with few soldiers and even less equipment and ammunition, in conditions of international isolation and, at that time, lack of recognition, a weapons embargo... the Croatian Army took the initiative and did not lose until eventual victory in Storm and operations Maestral and South Move, in which, until October and in October 1995, Croatian commanders and soldiers were killed," the president said.

Since the end of 1991 and in the 1995 operations Flash, Storm, Maestral and South Move, the Croatian Army was on the initiative, and gloriously ended the war, he added. "The very end of the war cost Croatia because of other states' political projects, the U.S. first and foremost."

It was the Croatian Army's arrival to Manjača in Bosnia and Herzegovina that stopped the war in BiH, Milanović said, "not the American bombings and finally the informal capitulation of Bosnian Serbs, Mladić and Karadžić, the agreement to negotiate and the lifting of the siege of Sarajevo."

"I'm not for ideologising history, I find it dangerous, but children should be taught that, those are the facts," the president said, honouring the 51 defenders who were killed in Operation Flash or died as a result of wounding, saying that they had been within reach of freedom and victory, but did not live to see it.

Jandroković: President Tuđman's vision and defenders' heroism

Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said that today, at a time of Russia's aggression on Ukraine, Croatia's victory in the Homeland War became even bigger, even more brilliant.

"Croatia indeed seized that historic moment, winning in the Homeland War, creating a state, securing freedom and democracy for the Croatian people."

Jandroković said Operation Flash claimed 51 lives and that "those people are firmly embedded in the foundations of the modern Croatian state."

We remember and thank them as well as all those responsible for Croatia's freedom, he said, highlighting the vision of the then-president Franjo Tuđman, the courage of Croatian soldiers and police officers as well as the Croatian people's willingness to make sacrifices.

"President Tuđman's vision and the defenders' heroism should be an example to us all who hold public office of how one should fight for the Croatian state," Jandroković told a reporter when asked about the lack of unity in the state leadership.

Responding to a question, he said he did not come to Okučani feeling nervous because the president would be here too.

"I came here to honour the sacrifice of Croatian defenders, to show sympathy with their families, to remember a magnificent victory," he added.

Plenković: We tried to right injustices regarding veterans' rights

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said it was important to remember those who gave their lives for Croatia and that all future generations "know what was happening in the early 1990s during the time of the Greater Serbia aggression on Croatia and the occupation of this part of western Slavonia and about the operation which liberated this area in a very short time."

Speaking to the press, he thanked all veterans, soldiers and police officers. "In these few years, we have done our best to fill those gaps, to right a few wrongs regarding the legislative, financial, programme and organisational framework pertaining to Croatian veterans' rights."

Plenković thanked War Veterans Minister Tomo Medved in particular, saying he is confident that they have managed to solve the problems of veterans and their families.

He said the policy of his government was also to strengthen homeland and national security as well as the army and the police. That is visible in their budgets and in the strengthening of their capabilities so that Croatia can be a reliable and secure partner in the EU and NATO, he added.

"We see how important security is in these times of Russia's brutal aggression on Ukraine and what effects such situations have on our security as well as on our economy," Plenković said.

After the ceremony, mass was celebrated for the defenders and civilians killed in the Homeland War, with the state and military leaderships as well as the victims' families and representatives of veterans' associations attending.

For more, check out our politics section.

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