Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said on Friday in Knin at the central celebration of the 21st anniversary of the Croatian military and police Operation Storm and celebration of Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and Croatian Veterans Day that Croatia respected every victim, but that Operation Storm was ethically clean.
"'Storm' was politically justified, ethically clean and military brilliant liberation operation on Croatian state territory. That was an honourable victory for a righteous cause," Grabar-Kitarovic said after laying a wreath and lighting a candle in Dr Ante Starcevic Square.
We celebrate this anniversary primarily as a day of our freedom and peace for which Croatia had to fight for in a war, defending and liberating the country from a joint criminal enterprise of a unitarist Yugoslavianism and Chetnicism, the president said.
She recalled the suffering and destruction caused by the Greater Serbia aggression. In spite of that, "Croatia's state policy had not commanded, undertaken or approved a single act of revenge, but it expressed readiness for reconciliation and forgiveness," Grabar-Kitarovic said adding that this was also the message of the first Croatian President Franjo Tudjman who said in Vukovar on 8 June 1997 that "the victor who doesn't know how to forgive is spreading the seeds of new divisions and future evils" and that "the Croatian people do not want that."
Veterans' representative retired colonel Ivica Glavatora, who addressed those present before the president, said Croatia today celebrated the anniversary of the victory over the Greater Serbia fascist pretensions.