An iconic water tower in the eastern Croatian city of Vukovar, which has come to symbolize the country's struggle for independence from Yugoslavia, is set to be restored as a war memorial, according to media reports Monday.

During a charity concert in the capital Zagreb on Sunday night, the city of Vukovar received 1.2 million Kuna (181,000 dollars) in donations to restore the damaged building as a viewing tower and memorial.

After Croatia declared independence in mid-1991, the Yugoslav army commanded from Belgrade, moved in on strategic targets near the border with Serbia, with Vukovar the largest among them.

Vukovar was defended by lightly armed and poorly organized Croat volunteers.

Large parts of the city were destroyed and around 1,700 people killed during a week-long battle in November 1991, when Vukovar was stormed by Serbian forces who largely outnumbered the city's 2,000 defence forces.

Vukovar then became the site of the biggest single atrocity of the Croatian war that ended in 1995: The Yugoslav army and paramilitaries took 200 people from a local hospital to a pig farm where they were executed and buried in a mass grave, in what was then Europe's biggest war crime since World War II.

Serbia handed Vukovar back to Croatian authority after the war.

President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic and Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic called for a nationwide effort to help raise the entire 3 million euros (3.4 million dollars) needed for the full restoration of the water tower.

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