Minister Krstičević: “Operation Maslenica demonstrated the capability of the Croatian Army to liberate the country by its own forces”
The main ceremony marking the 27th anniversary of the Maslenica Operation, one of the first major liberation operations launched by the Croatian Army and police was held in Zadar on 20 January 2020.
In commemoration of the historic operation liberating 100 km within 72 hours, the reveille was played, and senior delegations paid respects to the fallen defenders at the Central Cross in the Zadar Cemetery.
The respects were paid by the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević as Envoy of the President of the Republic of Croatia and the Supreme Commander of the Croatian Armed Forces and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, Major General (Ret.) Miljenko Filipović as the Envoy of the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament, by the Minister of Veterans of the Homeland War Tomo Medved and Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces General Mirko Šundov, and by the delegations of the Ministry of Defence, of the Ministry of the Interior, of the Ministry of the Homeland War Veterans of the Croatian Armed Forces, as well as by the families of the fallen, missing and the deceased from the Operation, and by the delegations of the City of Zadar headed by the Mayor Branko Dukić and of the Zadar County headed by the Prefect Božidar Longin, and representatives of of the units from the Homeland War and of the Croatian Veterans’ Association.
The respects were paid at the memorial monument to the 3rd Battalion of the 4th Guards Brigade titled “Imotski sokolovi” and at the memorial monument to the Croatian defenders.
Minister Krstičević: “Maslenica was a turning point of the Homeland War and proved the trainedness and equippedness of the Croatian Army to conduct an operation of the scale”
The Minister expressed gratitude to the defenders and the fellow combatants for the Operation and the sacrifice made.
“We still feel victorious, 27 years on from the Operation. We were aware that we were on a righteous mission for our people and our country. We felt enormous strength, unity, pride and dignity. It was hard, but we were convinced in victory and today we are highly proud of it.
On behalf of the Croatian Government, I would like to express gratitude to the participants of the Operation “Maslenica”, led by the wartime Commander General Ante Gotovina and by the Chief of the General Staff General Janko Bobetko for the superbly executed operation. We owe deepest gratitude to the families of the killed, deceased and missing Croatian veterans and to President dr. Franjo Tuđman initiated the Operation.
As one of the commanders of Maslenica I can say that Operation “Maslenica” was a turning point in the Homeland War, and demonstrated that in 1993 the Croatian Army was trained and equipped enough to conduct an operation of the scale. We succeeded in reconnecting the north and the south of Croatia and demonstrated to the world and to our own citizens that we were capable of liberating our country by our own forces, which was evident in the later operations by the Croatian Army. We have strengthened the faith of the Croatian veterans in the victorious character of the Croatian Army, visible to this day. Our mission is to guard the values and the legacy of the Homeland War and to strengthen the Croatian Armed Forces as the guarantor of peace and security ”, said Minister Krstičević.
The Minister of Homeland War Veterans Tomo Medved recalled the Operation “Maslenica” and , underlined its status as the turning point in the Homeland War, and the important message it conveyed to the Croatian people that the Croatian Army was capable of liberating the country. “The Operation took a large human toll, and it is our obligation to provide care and assistance to the families of the fallen defenders and to the defenders”, said the Minister.
Memorial march by members of Croatian Armed Forces and of police through Zadar
The marking also featured the traditional march by the members of the Croatian Armed Forces and of the police carrying the wartime flags to the Church of St. Simon, where the Mass for the Homeland was recited.
Also, a scientific colloquium of on the medical service organisation in the Operation Maslenica was held in the University of Zadar, and a symposium on “Franciscan monastery at Donji Karin – the exemplary of devastated cultural heritage during the Homeland War”.
The marking activities also comprised a small-calibre pistol shooting competition and the 16 th race “In remembrance of Maslenica: Posedarje – Podgradina – Novigrad”.
The marking ceremony featured the paying of respects to the fallen defenders at the memorial monuments from the Operation “Maslenica” in the villages of Kašić, Islam Latinski, Posedarje, at the Maslenica Bridge, in the local graveyards at Crno, Ražovljeva Glavica near Škabrnja, at Paljuv, Novigrad and in Karin and the masses in the local churches throughout the week.