News / USA

Former NATO Commander Wesley Clark: Crimea Is Not Kosovo

Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander who was in charge during the 1999 Kosovo air war, rejects any parallels between Kosovo and Crimea.
Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander who was in charge during the 1999 Kosovo air war, rejects any parallels between Kosovo and Crimea.
Arben XhixhoMike Eckel
When NATO jets attacked Serbian military targets in Kosovo in 1999, relations between the West and Russia plummeted to lows not seen since before the Soviet collapse eight years earlier.
 
Russia, under the presidency then of Boris Yeltsin, complained that NATO was attacking a sovereign nation, unprompted, and was setting a dangerous precedent. NATO, Washington included, said atrocities allegedly being committed against the Kosovars justified the intervention.
 
Since then, Russia has thrown the West’s reasoning back in its face, most recently in Ukraine’s Crimea, when the Kremlin used allegations — spurious, at best — that ethnic Russians were in danger as justification for intervening.
 
Wesley Clark was Supreme Allied Commander Europe for NATO when Kosovo crisis happened, and he’s regularly questioned on the justification for, and the fallout from, the attack.
 
In a recent interview in Washington with VOA’s Albanian Service, Clark distinguished between what happened in Kosovo and what’s happening today in Ukraine.

Watch video interview with Clark:
 
Crimea Is Not Kosovo, Says Former NATO Commander Wesley Clarki
X
VOA News
June 13, 2014 9:12 PM
Wesley Clark, the former U.S. general who was NATO commander in 1999 when NATO air strikes in Kosovo, denies any parallel between Kosovo and the Russian intervention in Crimea earlier this year. In a recent interview in Washington with VOA’s Albanian Service, he said the situation in Crimea was 'a manufactured crisis by Mr. Putin.'

VOA: “Do you see any parallel between Kosovo and Crimea?”
 
CLARK:
What Russia is doing in Ukraine is not in any way parallel to what NATO did in Kosovo because in Kosovo you had a group of people who were fighting to preserve their own culture against the Serb repression. What is happening in Ukraine has nothing to do with this. The Russian population is not under any repression in Ukraine whatsoever. Instead, what we got is a manufactured crisis by Mr. Putin who is trying to draw similarities but there are no similarities whatsoever. The only real similarity is that when people get a taste of democracy, they want more of it; they want a chance to select their own leaders, they want a government that is free of corruption, they want a chance to be treated with dignity and they want to be part of the movement of western civilization. That does have a similarity between what happened in Kosovo 15 years ago and the progress made since and the aspirations of the people in Ukraine.
 
VOA: How has the West reacted towards the crisis in Ukraine?
 
CLARK:
I think that what the West has to do is we have to help the government of Ukraine. It has to clean the remains of the aggression in its eastern areas, it has to develop economically, it has to follow through on the promised reforms and bring democracy and economic growth to the people of Ukraine. Ukraine is a big country. It is 45-46 million people. It has got a lot of modern industry; it also has a lot of very key resources. There is no reason for it not to be one of the leading countries of Europe. It should be, and hopefully now it will be.
 
VOA: How can you square that with the economic interests that the EU is having in Russia?
 
CLARK:
I think that the EU has to sort through this. The purpose of the European Union expansion is to bring stability to the East and ultimately that stability will come to Russia. There is no long term reason that Russia can’t be part of the same peaceful community of nations.  But they can’t military forces and take military action and change boundaries like this. That’s wrong!

You May Like

Kurdish President: More Needed to Defeat Islamic State

In interview with VOA's Persian Service, Massoud Barzani says peshmerga forces have not received weapons, logistical support needed to successfully fight IS in northern Iraq More

Sierra Leone's Stray Dog Population Doubles During Ebola Crisis

Many dog owners fear their pets could infect them with the virus and have abandoned them, leading to the increase and sparking fears of rabies More

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

New methods for mapping pain in the brain not only validate sufferers of chronic pain but might someday also lead to better treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: dave
June 15, 2014 4:12 AM
The Serbs in Kosovo were the ones who got oppressed by the Albanians before, during and after the war.

by: Luke Buyenovich from: Dayton,Ohio USA
June 14, 2014 7:54 PM
"Crimea is not Kosovo"Very true indeed.Attack on Serbia by the West,executed by Mr.Clark was risk free.Any western military participations in conflict in Ukraine would bring the West to humiliating defeat.Ukrainian people are suffering needlessly.Economic competition West vs East could be peaceful and beneficial to the people of Uraine.

by: Pippo from: NYC
June 14, 2014 5:31 PM
Of course Crimea is not Kosovo little wesley. You don't have a no compete mining contract with crimea and thus have no reason to bomb there. http://www.marketplace.org/topics/world/wesley-clark-puts-name-behind-kosovo-coal-project
Nor are there any al qaeda trained militants to support like there were in kosovo you joker. good luck at the gates, you'll need it.

by: Jacob KIpp from: Lawrence, Kansas USA
June 14, 2014 4:39 PM
It would have been very valuable if the VOA correspondent would have asked General Clark to clarify this sentence: "I think that what the West has to do is we have to help the government of Ukraine. It has to clean the remains of the aggression in its eastern areas, . . . Does the General Means that the "West" should "help the Government if Ukraine . . . to clean the remains of the aggression in its eastern areas?" And does this area include Crimea, or has the West simply given up Crimea to Russia. With regard to the "eastern areas" of Ukraine is the general sure that the only problem in that region is "aggression?" Could there be a domestic insurgency, which will demand more effort to win the heart and minds of people than just killing "terrorists? How we conceptualize a problem often limits the policy choices that we see.

by: kristin anders from: U.S.A.
June 14, 2014 10:25 AM
According to an Eastern Ukrainian friend of mine, the people there have always felt suppressed, and now, especially, since they were not permitted to vote in the election and the man who was elected is waging war against them. Atrocities are being committed against the citizens at this moment which western governments are not only allowing to happen but are supporting.
In Response

by: Andrey Petrov
June 15, 2014 5:39 AM
Huge number of russians like me has got relatives in Eastern Ukraine. The same thing is in Crimea. My ukrainian relatives and friends hate current nazi ukrainian government supported by US and EU politicians. Not because of Russian mass media. At first ukrainian government resisted freedom of choise at referendum. And now Ukrainian military forces bombs sities and kills peaceful civilians. That's why Russia has defeated Crimea from nazis. Putin was foreseeing such situation in Crimea.
In Response

by: Patrick Sullivan from: United States
June 14, 2014 6:11 PM
The only atrocities in Ukraine are commited by foreigners, from Chechnya & RF
In Response

by: Per from: Norway
June 14, 2014 5:04 PM
Suppressed by Janukovitsj? Who prevented them to vote? The same bandits Petrosjenko has to wipe out. Good riddance. They are a menace to all Ukrainians and a threat to peace in Europe. Help Ukraine in their fight against Vlads local and not so local thugs.
In Response

by: Dimitri Visser
June 14, 2014 4:40 PM
You should know that the opinions and knowledge of people in eastern Ukraine is influenced very heavily by the Russian news. They watch mainly Russian channels (because Russian is their native language), and listen to this news also. Russian news is telling lies to Russian people, and to the people in Ukraine watching Russian tv channels. There were even stories about the USA making camps in Eastern Ukraine, to kill Russian people with gas, just like the nazis did with the jews.

All people in Ukraine were allowed to vote! Unfortunately some people in Eastern Ukraine could not, because the pro Russian terrorists did not allow the voting to take place there. That is the real storie...

by: micheal from: nigeria
June 14, 2014 6:40 AM
Russia is showing the world that she is someone to reckon with but at the long run it may turns to doom to mother russia see what Russia behaviors is causing in south china sea

by: Giovanni from: Milano
June 14, 2014 3:22 AM
We keep silence,Putin destabilizes, destroys and kills Ukrainians who organized revolutions in 2004 and 2014 in order to be closer with us,the West,but we betrayed them. We left them alone to face fascism-like Russia to kill them.

by: jjs from: las vegas
June 14, 2014 1:03 AM
Gen Clark isn't 100% correct stating of atrocities against Kosovo population. Atrocities were committed by both sides. Muslims are not known of being soft against christians either. And again the war between Serbia and Kosovo started when Kosovo decided to separate. Serbia naturally objected because Kosovo territory historically belong to Serbia. So, Kosovo people started the war killing Serbian people in Kosovo, who objected separation. Clark is twisting the truth.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs