Bosnian war survivors rally against Ukraine invasion

SARAJEVO: Several hundred people marched on Monday (May 9) in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, which was besieged during a brutal civil war in the 1990s, asking Russia to end the Ukraine war.

Bosnia’s inter-ethnic war killed nearly 100,000 people, of whom more than 11,000 died during the Sarajevo seige by Serb forces.

The march was organised by associations gathering Bosnian Muslim war victims and their families.

“Stop the massacre in Mariupol”, proclaimed a giant in both Bosnian and English carried by the marchers, referring to a strategic Ukrainian port besieged and destroyed by Russian troops.

“Stop the war now! Sarajevo 1992-1995, Mariupol 2022-?”, read another banner.

The march coincided with parades and marches in Russia to mark the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday blamed the West and Ukraine for the conflict, telling thousands of troops in Moscow’s Red Square that Russia faced an “absolutely unacceptable threat”.

Marcher Munira Subasic, the head of a leading association gathering families of Bosnian war victims, said: “We, the mothers who know what it means when someone kills your son or rapes your daughter … ask the world to put an end to what is going on in Ukraine”.

“Look at Mariupol. Its siege reminds the one of Sarajevo and other (Bosnian) towns,” Alija Hodzic, whose 17-year-old daughter was killed in Sarajevo in 1993, told reporters.

“But they (Russians) will lose since they are the ones who are attacking. It’s always the one who defends himself who wins,” he added.