BELGRADE, March 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. and NATO military expansion in Eastern Europe is the root cause of the current Ukraine crisis, Zivadin Jovanovic, former minister of foreign affairs of Yugoslavia, has said.
In an interview with Xinhua, Jovanovic who currently presides over the think-tank Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals, said that the crisis resulted from "the U.S.-NATO strategy of military expansion to the Russian borders, rejection of the principle of equal and indivisible security."
Serbia was the first victim of NATO's expansion strategy, Jovanovic recalled.
In 1999, NATO troops led by the United States blatantly set the UN Security Council aside and carried out a 78-day continuous bombing of Yugoslavia under the guise of "preventing humanitarian disasters," killing and injuring over 8,000 innocent civilians and uprooting nearly 1 million.
Jovanovic called for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine, "taking into account legitimate security concerns of all countries and peoples involved."
Jovanovic said that the Ukrainian conflict and all that had preceded it, "calls to end the policy of military expansion, for recognition of legitimate rights of all countries to equal security without undermining the security of others," as well as for the "global recognition of the new multi-polar world order."
"We hope that the Ukrainian conflict will be resolved as soon as possible peacefully, through dialogue, taking into account the need for equal security of all countries and peoples. Sanctions, threats, double standards, one-sided approaches ... are undermining peace efforts and therefore should cease," he added. ■