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NEVESINJE, NOVEMBER 8 /SRNA/ - President of the Republika Srpska Veterans’ Organization Milomir Savčić said today in Nevesinje that Mitrovdan battles of 1992 and 1994 were a symbol of heroism and readiness for sacrifice.


“When it comes to these battles, I would like to point out that the people of these parts got actively engaged in the defense of freedom and did not move out,” Savčić told reporters after a memorial service and the laying of flowers at the central monument to soldiers of Nevesinje killed in the patriotic-defense war.

He has noted that veterans are not satisfied with their status, but that they did not lose anything of their vested rights.

“I am convinced that we will improve the status of veterans by the end of the year, that disability pensions and veterans’ supplements will be increased. Employment of demobilized soldiers remains a burning issue, but we have promises that the status of this category will also be improved,” Savčić said.

Republika Srpska Minister of Labor, War Veterans and Disabled Persons‘ Protection Duško Milunović has said that the Serbian history is full of uprisings, wars, but also of great battles and victories.

“On Saint Demetrius Day /Mitrovdan/ in 1992 and 1994 great battles were waged where not only Nevesinje and Eastern Herzegovina were preserved, but Republika Srpska as well. The enemy’s intention was to take Eastern Herzegovina and expel the Serbian people,” Milunović said.

He has said that all is being done to improve the status of veterans.

The commander of the 3rd Battalion of the Nevesinje Brigade, Milenko Lalović, has pointed out that the territory of Eastern Herzegovina was preserved during two St. Demetrius’ Days.

“Together with other soldiers throughout Republika Srpska, we managed to create the first Serbian state on the left bank of the River Drina. What we should bear in mind and the main message to veterans and people is that the struggle is not over yet and that now we should wage it more wisely and using other weapons. We must remain firmly in the defense of our homeland, as it was left to us by our fallen soldiers whom we must not forget. Their sacrifice will be in vain if we lose Republika Srpska,” Lalović said.

Nevesinje Mayor Milenko Avdalović has pointed out that St. Demetrius Day /Mitrovdan/ is celebrated in Nevesinje in an especially solemn way, and that this year's celebration will last for two days.

“Every Nevesinje and Herzegovina resident has special feelings on St. Demetrius Day, a mix of joy and sorrow. Joy because we created Republika Srpska, sorrow because the price was too high - 64 soldiers were killed and around 1,000 were wounded in only two Mitrovdan’s battles. Twenty-seven years have elapsed, life is coming back slowly; we are trying to help families of those killed together with Republic authorities, and we think that prospects for Nevesinje and Republika Srpska are good,” Avdalović said.

The marking of Mitrovdan - the Day of Nevesinje Municipality and Patron St.’s Day of the Republika Srpska Veterans’ Organization started with a Holy Liturgy which was celebrated this morning in the Cathedral Church of the Ascension of Our Lord, after which a solemn session of the Municipal Assembly was held where deserving individuals were presented with the highest municipal recognitions.

A solemn academy was also held where the president of the Serbian Academy of Science and Arts, Vladimir Kostić, spoke.

St Demetrius’ Day /Mitrovdan/ is marked in Nevesinje with special respect because Nevesinje and Herzegovina were defended in the two Mitrovdan battles in 1992 and 1994.

During the 1992 Mitrovdan battle, 42 fighters of the brigade which was made up of mainly the soldiers from Nevesinje and the Neretva valley were killed and 750 were wounded. On St. Demetrius Day in 1994, a total of 22 soldiers were killed and 140 were wounded.

The first Mitrovdan battle was one of the biggest ones in the homeland defense war as 3,500 members of the Nevesinje Brigade defeated a five-time-stronger enemy including the Croatian Army, Croatian Defense Council and the so-called Army of BiH, whose 15,000 soldiers accompanied by powerful artillery charged at Nevesinje in an effort to link with Dubrovnik and reach the Yugoslav border.

A total of 476 soldiers of the Nevesinje Brigade gave their lives for the defense of Republika Srpska.

Along with Mitrovdan and the Municipality Day, Nevesinje Municipality this year marks the 800th anniversary of the first mention of Nevesinje and the eight centuries of the Diocese of Zahum-Herzegovina and the Littoral of the Serbian Orthodox Church. /end/sg