Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The military base in Kosovo is being turned into a regional stronghold of the US Army…
A year prior to NATO operation “Merciful Angel” when in March – May, 1999 the aviation of the North Atlantic alliance bombed Yugoslavia during 78 days, military specialists of the Pentagon chose 1000 hectares of land near the city of Uroševac in the Serbian autonomous Region of Kosovo and Metohija for the construction of the, largest American military base in Europe. At this same time the chief contractor for the construction of the base was defined as the Halliburton company – the future Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney became the president and chairman of its board of directors in 1995.
“Bondsteel” cost almost $8 billion. The Americans transferred equipment and building materials by military transport planes from Germany to Kosovo and Metohija. Several months later near Pristina (under Tito the huge Slatina airfield was already constructed here) 300 objects were built. $34 million was invested in just one hospital. Analysts in the US say that “Bondsteel” is the main American interest in Europe.
The American military camp near Pristina is a whole State. Goods are only from the US, there is a movie theater, a library, the Internet, apartment blocks, hotel, bars, sports halls, a pool, a car service, and repair shops. Originally 7000 US soldiers and officers served here. The most part of the service personnel of “Bondsteel” are Kosovan Albanians. Serbians aren’t taken here. The number of tanks and helicopters at the base isn’t named, but, according to some information, which is today probably outdated, there were about 20 Black Hawk helicopters, one Apache, and ten Abrams M1A2 tanks at “Bondsteel” on a constant basis.
After the 525th American brigade of intelligence and radio-electronic combat was deployed near Pristina, the “Bondsteel” base ceased to be mentioned in open sources. The main task of the American experts here to be the “ears and eyes” of the Pentagon, being engaged in a collection of information.
Now Washington diligently understates the number of staff deployed at this base. Judging by the base’s statistics for food and utilities consumption, about 25,000 people, but not 5,000-7,000 – as the Pentagon affirms, are concentrated at this base.
Being on a visit in Belgrade at the end of February, 2018, the Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov expressed himself concerning the base of the US in Kosovo and Metohija: “… the American military base ‘Bondsteel’ is created on the territory of Serbia, in particular in the autonomous Region of Kosovo. Moreover, it is created with reference to UNSC resolution 1244, thereby it is consecrated with the UN’s authority. Lots of information arrives about it being unclear what our American colleagues are engaged in there. But in response to these doubts, for some reason the Americans don’t invite anybody to visit this base. Although I will repeat once again, it is consecrated with the authority of the UNSC, i.e., in a way it belongs to the international community”.
Serbian media sometimes describes what is known to them about the events at the mysterious base near Uroševac. It is difficult for journalists to access this base, and the main part of the territory is closed off for them. Photo apparatus, phones, and computers are confiscated, and they are transported only along legal routes. The correspondent of “Sputnik” in 2016 described the little things that he managed to see: “The territory of the base is 360,000 square meters. ‘Bondsteel’ is 25 kilometers of asphalted roads and about 300 objects and 11 watchtowers. The base is divided into sectors, and, like in any small city, transport has a 30 to 50 kilometers per hour speed limit, depending on the sector that you are in. Except a fence and gate, all the rest is in the camp – everything can be assembled and disassembled, from the bedrooms to the dining rooms”.
Washington started up hearing more than once that “Bondsteel” will close soon, but actually in 2017 the area of base expanded to 4 square kilometers. Length of external perimeter was increased to 11.5 kilometers.
Work on the territory of the base is performed by KBR, Inc. New hangars for helicopters and heavy and light armored machinery are constructed, an air-raid shelter is strengthened, and new observation towers are installed. Now there are 25 Black Hawk and Apache helicopters. There are new Abrams tanks. The possibility of transferring several units of BMP “Striker” (in modern modification – with a 30-millimetre cannon), which is undergoing tests at the American Grafenwöhr training ground in Germany, is being considered.
At the base the training of Kosovan security forces is intensified (within the framework of Washington – in violation of UNSC resolution 1244 – gives assistance to Pristina for the formation of fully-fledged Armed Forces of Kosovo). And what is remarkable is that it is also here that the Americans train Ukrainian military personnel too.
An even more ominous picture is drawn by the Serbian newspaper “Republika”, which writes: “Future terrorists are trained at this base, and it is here that the distribution of drugs that are delivered from Albania, Bulgaria, and Macedonia takes place, and after this they are transported to the West”.
At the end of March Colonel Nick Ducich, a Serbian by origin – his ancestors once emigrated from Serbia to America, was appointed as the new commandant of the base.
The Serbian military expert Miroslav Lazanski stated that he doesn’t have any illusions in connection with the origin of the American officer. “Our people assimilate themselves there very quickly, moreover – they want to prove their fidelity to America, that’s why I don’t expect anything from his appointment,” writes the expert. So far advertising reports that at “Bondsteel” citizens of the US can get a job as hired employees, there are vacancies for work in April and May.
The main conclusion that can be drawn from this fragmentary information is that the US gradually turns the “Bondsteel” base on the territory of the Region of Kosovo and Metohija – which was ripped away from Serbia – into a regional stronghold of their Armed Forces and the center of support of their military facilities in the eastern Mediterranean. Behind the mask of peacemaking Washington hides opaque military activity in Kosovo.
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