Sunday, 10 April 2022

HOS Members Killed in 1990s War Commemorated in Split

ZAGREB, 10 April 2022 - Members of the Croatian Defence Forces (HOS) 9th Battalion "Rafael vitez Boban" on Sunday laid wreaths and lit candles at a memorial in Split for the battalion's members killed in the 1991-95 Homeland War, on the 31st anniversary of the unit.

"We are standing here before this wounded memorial, proud of them and their courage. Shame on cowards, deserters, lovers of the red star who spit on HOS. All defenders were 'for the homeland ready' in the Homeland War, that salute is not an expression of hate but of love for one's home and Croat people," said the battalion's wartime commander, Marko Skejo.

Split-Dalmatia County Assembly president Mate Šimundić said HOS members "were ready for the homeland back then, as they are today", and that he, as a representative of the state authorities, paid tribute to them.

A state that questions such a thing questions its own survival, he said.

A former HOS general and member of parliament from the Homeland Movement, Ante Prkačin, recalled that 10 April was yet another anniversary, the 81st anniversary of the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), wondering if they were not allowed to talk about it.

HOS was the armed wing of the Croatian Party of Rights (HSP) fighting in Croatia's 1991-95 war of independence and "For the homeland ready" was the salute used by the pro-Nazi Ustasha regime of WWII Independent State of Croatia.

According to Wikipedia, the HOS 9th Battalion "Rafael vitez Boban" was named after the Ustasha colonel and general of the World War II Croatian Armed Forces (HOS).

The battalion was active in Dalmatia and other parts of Croatia as well as in Herzegovina and it lost 46 members in the Homeland War.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 9 April 2022

HOS 9th Battalion Marks 31st Anniversary in Split

ZAGREB, 9 April 2022 - The Croatian Defence Force (HOS) 9th Battalion on Saturday marked its 31st anniversary at a church and the Lora arena in the coastal city of Split, commemorating its 46 members killed in the 1991-95 Homeland War.

Addressing a packed Lora arena, the president of the "HOS 9th Battalion" association, and the battalion's wartime commander, Marko Skejo, said, among other things, that members of the battalion had given a major contribution to Croatia's independence, ending his speech by shouting "For the homeland ready", to which the audience did the same.

One of the battalion's wartime commanders, Mile Ćuk, said its members had fought in all parts of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, with around 2,500 soldiers having passed through the unit, of whom more than 300 were wounded and 46 killed.

"Our fighters proudly and honourably wore on their uniforms insignia with the inscription 'For the homeland ready', the holy salute which today some want to ban. We Catholics celebrate Easter and Christmas, Homeland War Victory Day, Homeland Thanksgiving Day and War Veterans Day, which is the day of those who are for the homeland ready," Ćuk said.

HOS was the armed wing of the Croatian Party of Rights (HSP) fighting in Croatia's 1991-95 war of independence and "For the homeland ready" was the salute used by Croatia's pro-Nazi Ustasha regime in WWII.

Attending today's commemoration were also War Veterans Minister Tomo Medved's envoy Matko Raos, Split-Dalmatia County deputy head Stipe Čogelja, representatives of neighbouring cities and members of parliament Ante Prkačin and Zlatko Hasanbegović.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 31 March 2022

PM, Defence Minister Remember Operation Plitvice

ZAGREB, 31 March 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Thursday remembered the first victim of the 1991-1995 Homeland War - police officer Josip Jović who was killed by Serb insurgents near the Plitvice Lakes 31 years ago.

"This is an opportunity for us to once again remember and thank all Croatian defenders, soldiers, police officers and all those who gave their lives for freedom," Plenković said.

In a separate message on this occasion, Defence Minister Mario Banožić said: "We are proud of Josip Jović and all defenders, Croatian police officers and Croatian soldiers, who showed how to fight for the freedom of Croatia and all its people, regardless of the gravity of challenges and despite sacrifices."

Croatia on Thursday commemorated the 31th anniversary of Operation Plitvice and the death of Josip Jović, the first Croatian police officer to be killed by Serb insurgents at the start of the 1991-1995 Homeland War.

The operation was mounted after rebel Serbs set up a police station in Plitvice and the Croatian state leadership decided to restore constitutional order there.

Jović, 22, was killed and nine other police officers were wounded in that police operation after the Serb rebels occupied Plitvice Lakes National Park and blocked the D1 state road that connects the country's north and south. Jović was a member of the Lučko Anti-Terrorist Unit.

The operation was launched on the morning of 31 March 1991, Easter Sunday, and is also known as Bloody Easter.

According to police reports after the operation, 29 Serb extremists were arrested and 18 were charged with armed rebellion, including Goran Hadžić, a member of the main committee of the Serb Democratic Party, and Borivoje Savić, secretary of the executive committee of the party's Vukovar branch. Although the Croatian police regained control of the local police station, they had to withdraw later and the area remained under rebel control until August 1995 when Operation Storm crushed the Serb insurgency.

Jović has been posthumously promoted to the rank of major and decorated with high state medals.

Politics: For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 24 March 2022

Vukovar Bids Wartime Hospital Director Vesna Bosanac Farewell

ZAGREB, 24 March 2022 - Numerous Vukovar residents bid farewell to the wartime hospital director Dr Vesna Bosanac at the Homeland War Memorial Cemetery in Vukovar on Thursday.

Addressing those present at the burial ceremony, Dr Bosanac's long time deputy Siniša Maslovara bid her farewell.

"Most of us will remember her for caring for us all. She supported us and was there whenever we needed her, particularly when a serious misfortune or illness afflicted us. She loved her employees and fought for them to the limits of durability, even when everyone would leave them and when, sometimes, they would lose faith in themselves," Maslovara said.

He said that Bosanac seemed indestructible because she survived numerous misfortunes.

In the most difficult times for the hospital during the Homeland War, Dr Bosanac showed unimaginable courage, audacity and organisational skills, he underscored.

In addition to numerous Vukovar residents, also present at the funeral were the prime minister's envoy, Defence Minister Tomo Medved, Defence Minister Mario Banožić, Health Minister Vili Beroš, Vukovar-Srijem County Prefect Damir Dekanić and Vukovar Mayor Ivan Penava, who proclaimed today a day of mourning.

Vukovar Hospital staff paid their final respects to Dr Bosanac prior to her being taken to the cemetery. A commemorative ceremony will be held later this afternoon.

Vesna Bosanac died on Monday after a long and serious illness. She was 73.


Politics: For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 21 March 2022

Wartime Vukovar Hospital Director Vesna Bosanac Passes Away

March the 21st, 2022 - Wartime Vukovar hospital director Vesna Bosanac has passed away following a long and difficult illness. She is widely considered to be one of the heroines of the Homeland War.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the exceptional Dr. Vesna Bosanac was the war and post-war director of the Vukovar hospital, a facility that became synonymous with the sheer tragedy that befell Vukovar at the hands of horrendous Serbian aggression.

Bosanac was appointed head of the Vukovar Medical Centre and the Vukovar War Hospital on July the 24th, 1991. The unspeakable events which happened in that Eastern Croatian town that autumn could barely have been expected by anyone, and Vesna Bosanac stepped up to the job, showing nothing but bravery and dealing with the responsibility of her position exceptionally well. During those terrible months, thousands of wounded people were treated and operated on in the shelled Vukovar hospital without food or available medicine.

Wartime Vukovar hospital director Vesna Bosanac and many other brave and selfless medical staff and other employees didn't leave the hospital until the fall of the Vukovar, and then ended up being captured by the Serb aggressors. She spent three weeks in the Sremska Mitrovica prison, two more days in the Serbian capital of Belgrade, before being exchanged and before arriving in Zagreb in December 1991.

She was awarded the Order of the Croatian Danica with the figure of Katarina Zrinski, she received the "Charter of the Republic of Croatia" on behalf of the Vukovar General County Hospital from Croatian President Ivo Josipovic, and the Association of Veterans of Podravka in cooperation with other associations from the Homeland War awarded her the Great Gold Plaque for all she did for the benefit of Croatia and the Croatian struggle for independence.

For more, make sure to check our news section.

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Largest Croatian Defender Support Centre Opened in Osijek

March the 8th, 2022 - The largest Croatian defender support centre aimed at helping deal with the varying needs of those who served and defended Croatia against Greater Serbian aggression back during the Homeland War has been opened in Osijek.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Regional Centre for Counselling and Psychosocial Support to Croatian Homeland War Veterans, the largest such centre in the Republic of Croatia, was officially opened in the renovated building of the former Hotel Mursa in the Eastern Croatian city of Osijek on Friday.

The centre's opening ceremony was attended by Counsellor and Charge d'Affaires of the US Embassy in Croatia Mark Lewis Fleming, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Croatian Veterans Tomo Medved, County Prefect Ivan Anusic, Osijek Mayor Ivan Radic, as well as by various representatives of veterans and associations from the Homeland War.

The Croatian defender support centre project and the refurbishment of this space was coordinated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the project was funded in the amount of 328,832 US dollars (2.1 million kuna).

"The cooperation we have achieved with the Ministry of Croatian Veterans will be expanded and deepened, and we will continue to support the Croatian Government in providing services for Croatian veterans. This is especially visible today when we are faced with the situation currently going on in Ukraine. Our strategic partnership with Croatia remains strong and continues to grow," Fleming said.

“Our Croatian defender support centre will provide more than 9,000 grants a year in the area of Osijek. I'm proud that we are creating the proper conditions here for a multidisciplinary approach of all those who provide support to Croatian veterans and to deal with and solve their needs,'' said Minister Tomo Medved.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Made in Croatia section.

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Milanović Meets With New Leaders of Association of Retired Generals

ZAGREB, 22 Feb 2022 - President Zoran Milanović on Tuesday spoke with the new leadership of the Croatian Generals Corps (HGZ), an association of retired Croatian Army generals and brigadiers from the Homeland War, with the association's president announcing the establishment of the Council for Strategic Affairs.

Present at the meeting were Marinko Krešić, who was elected as the association's president on 22 January 2022, vice presidents Ljubo Ćesić, Mladen Kruljac and Frane Tomičić, the president's office said in a press release.

The new leadership of the association presented President Milanović with its work plan and activities, including the opening of a war museum in Zagreb, establishing branches in Osijek and  Split, and preparing a lexicon of Croatian generals, which is expected to be published for this year's Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day.

The association said it would continue to work on protecting the reputation and dignity of Croatian Homeland War veterans and commemorating anniversaries.

HGZ president Marinko Krešić said that the association is not involved in daily politics but in preparing expert military and security analyses that can be of use to state institutions. In that context, he announced the establishment of the Council for Strategic Affairs and expert conferences and round tables, the press release said.

The President was accompanied by his defence and national security adviser Dragan Lozančić and special adviser on Homeland War veterans Marijan Mareković.

Friday, 11 February 2022

MP Deplores Rejection of Criminal Report for Wartime Murder of 4-Year-Old Girl

ZAGREB, 11 Feb 2022 - Željko Sačić of the Croatian Sovereignists party (HS) said on Friday the State Attorney General and the justice minister should demand an explanation of the decision of the Osijek County State Attorney's Office to scrap a criminal report against the murderers of a small girl in Borovo Selo in 1992.

The county office has dismissed the criminal report filed by an association of war veterans against the perpetrators of the March 1992 war crime in Borovo Selo where four-year-old Martina Štefančić and her grandmother were killed and her uncle was seriously wounded when there were no war operations there.

Sačić told the parliament that the explanation sent to the association read that of the seven perpetrators, some were amnestied and five were outside Croatia, and that the testimonies of the witnesses, who were 12 and 14 when the crime happened, could not be treated as credible.

Therefore, the HS party insists that State Attorney General Zlata Hrvoj Šipek and minister Ivan Malenica must demand an explanation in greater detail.

He said that this party would request convening the parliamentary committees on war veterans and on national security to discuss this matter.

Željko Štefančić, whose niece and mother were the victims killed during the occupation of the village, told Vukovar County Court in 2004 while testifying at a war crimes trial of eight former Serb paramilitaries, that one evening somebody had opened fire at his house and that he had been wounded. The witness did not see who or how many people entered his house. His mother and niece were taken to another room, where they were killed, according to his testimony.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 3 February 2022

President Decorates Pilot for Flying First MIG to Croatian Side

ZAGREB, 3 Feb 2022 - President and Armed Forces Commander in Chief Zoran Milanović on Thursday decorated retired Colonel Danijel Borović, who was the first to fly a Yugoslav People's Army MIG over to the Croatian side in February 1992, for the bravery and heroism displayed in the Homeland War.

On the 30th anniversary of that flight, the president thanked Borović for his brave act, saying that in the history of the Croatian war some names were rightfully and respectfully known to the wider public and children.

"One of the names that, without reason or justification, is not as well-known is your honourable name, Danijel Borović, colonel of the Croatian Army and the Croatian Air Force, the man who was the first to bring a supersonic fighter jet into Croatian ownership," the president said.

He recalled that in February 1992, after his fellow fighter Rudolf Perišin flew across the border, Borović landed a MIG-21 at the Pula airport in the dark after "dangerously, skillfully, heroically and riskily" separating from a fighter duo, putting the aircraft "into the functional use of the Croatian Air Force, which was just being created."

Great heroic act

"That's a great heroic act because heroism, and only then ownership, is reflected in the choices you had and how you could have acted but did not. You could have left, you could have simply come one day to one of our Croatian commands and registered. What you did surpasses that first option many times," Milanović said.

He said Borović had risked his life not only to bring Croatia a fighter jet but also to make that a very significant and visible way of lifting Croatia's morale at that time.

Thanking the president for the decoration, Borović said it was in a way compensation for what he should have received 27 years ago when many people were decorated in the president's office.

He said injustice was done at that time not just to him but also to his wife and five-year-old son Vanja who had been involved in months-long preparations. "We have made it and this award has found its place after 27 years. I thank you for that."

Borović said that despite the disappointment at that time, he and his wife Snježana wrote a book, "Flyover for Croatia", which he said could be used as a textbook because it described what had been happening in 1992.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 22 January 2022

Minister Medved: Operation Maslenica Showed Our Ability to Free Homeland

ZAGREB, 22 Jan 2022 - Croatian War Veterans' Affairs Minister Tomo Medved said on Saturday that the Operation Maslenica in 1993 was a turning point in the Homeland War and that it had sent a strong message of the capability of the Croatian armed forces to free their country from the enemy.

Addressing the central ceremony marking the 29th anniversary of the Operation Maslenica in Zadar, the minister expressed gratitude to the participants in the operation and particularly to the families who lost their members in that liberating action.

Operation Maslenica was launched in the early morning hours of 22 January 1993, with Croatian forces regaining control of the Serb-occupied Zadar hinterland, the straight of Maslenica, the Zemunik airbase and later on the Peruca dam. Within 72 hours, nearly 100 square kilometres of occupied territory was liberated. Croatian forces regained control of key strategic points from Serb insurgents and re-established transport connections between the country's north and south. In the first three days of the operation, 19 Croatian soldiers were killed and 70 were wounded. However, by 31 March 1993 the number of Croatian fatalities rose to 127 as Serb forces fought back.

Minister Medved said that the Operation Maslenica sent a strong message that the Croatian armed forces and police were capable of liberating every occupied inch of the occupied territory, as it was later shown in the military and police operations in 1995.

Medved also pointed out the importance of commemorating this operation and other events from the 1991-1995 Homeland War as a reminder that freedom in the present-day Croatia should not be taken for granted and that the defenders and the Homeland War were the strongest pillar of the independent and sovereign Republic of Croatia.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Page 2 of 25