Serb National Council (SNV) president Milorad Pupovac said on Saturday that the events in Knin yesterday, during the 21st anniversary of Operation Storm, made many feel trepidation and that the feeling still lasted.

"The messages we heard, the symbols we saw and the actions we witnessed are proof that hostility and hatred dominate, and that the ideology and the movement which are fuelled solely by hatred, hostility and a death wish are free," Pupovac said in Gornje Seliste at a commemoration for those killed and gone missing during and after the 1995 Operation Storm.

The remains of 56 persons killed in 1995 were exhumed from two mass graves in Gornje Seliste last year.

Pupovac said "this society should free itself of trepidation" and that "we will never get freedom if we keep quiet, look away and say that that's democracy... This isn't trepidation only for us, but for this state and its future too."

He said every death, notably of the innocent, but also those who had given their lives in the best faith, made sense only if it was followed by life without hatred, life in well-being and progress. "We can't say that's the state of our society today, notably of the Serb community."

The SNV said it was important not to forget the victims and the sites of their execution, and criticised the slow exhumation and identification of the victims and the inefficient prosecution of war crimes committed in Operation Storm.

Locals, representatives of the SNV and the Serbian Embassy, and local officials laid wreaths and lit candles at the Gornje Seliste cemetery. Mass was said in their honour.

Speaking to the media, Pupovac said the problem with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic's address in Knin yesterday was not what she said, but what she did not say. "If I had been in the president's place, I certainly would have prioritised what she heard before her address in relation to what (Social Democratic Party president Zoran) Milanovic said two years ago," he said, alluding to yesterday's address by the war veterans' representative at the anniversary, retired colonel Ivica Glavota.

Pupovac went on to say that he would be glad if Serbia and Croatia were not exchanging protest notes. He said a minimum of respect for Croatian and Serbian citizens, notably those killed, either Croats or Serbs, called for different communication. He said "it's an obligation today to agree on what is in citizens' interest, and that's peace, reconciliation, punishing those responsible for war crimes and turning to the future."

He would not say if he was willing to attend Operation Storm anniversaries in the future. Neither Croatia's first President, Franjo Tudjman, would have gone to Knin to a celebration like yesterday's, or he would have made "good preparations", because he always knew how to keep Croatia from divisions, he said.

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.