Siege of Kijevo (1991)

The 1991 siege of Kijevo was one of the earliest conflicts in the Croatian War of Independence. The 9th Corps of the Yugoslav People's Army (Jugoslovenska Narodna Armija – JNA) led by Colonel Ratko Mladić and the forces of the Serbian Autonomous Oblast (region) of Krajina (SAO Krajina) under Knin police chief Milan Martić besieged the Croat-inhabited village of Kijevo in late April and early May 1991. The initial siege was lifted after negotiations that followed major protests in Split against the JNA.

The JNA and the SAO Krajina forces renewed the blockade in mid-August. Kijevo was captured on 26 August, and subsequently looted and burned. The fighting in Kijevo was significant as one of the first instances when the JNA openly sided with the SAO Krajina against Croatian authorities. The Croatian police fled Kijevo towards the town of Drniš and the remaining Croatian population left the village.

Martić was tried at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on several different charges of war crimes including, his involvement in the siege of Kijevo. The trial resulted in a guilty verdict, and the findings of the Trial Chamber regarding Kijevo, made in 2007, were confirmed by the ICTY Appeals Chamber in 2008, based on witness testimonies about it being ethnic cleansing. The siege was the first instance of use of the ethnic cleansing in the Yugoslav Wars. Croatian authorities tried Mladić in absentia and convicted him for war crimes committed in Kijevo.

Siege of Kijevo
Part of the Croatian War of Independence

The location of Kijevo within Croatia. Areas controlled by the JNA in late December 1991 are highlighted in red.
Date17–26 August 1991
Dalmatian hinterland, Croatia
Result Yugoslav People's Army victory
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Yugoslav People's Army
SAO Krajina
Commanders and leaders
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Ratko Mladić
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Borislav Đukić
Milan Martić
Croatia Martin Čičin Šain
Units involved
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 221st Motorised Brigade
SAO Krajina TO
Croatian Police
unknown 58 policemen
Casualties and losses
None 20 captured
2 wounded


In 1990, ethnic tensions between Serbs and Croats worsened after the electoral defeat of the government of the Socialist Republic of Croatia by the Croatian Democratic Union (Hrvatska demokratska zajednica, HDZ). The Yugoslav People's Army (Jugoslovenska Narodna Armija – JNA) confiscated Croatia's Territorial Defence (Teritorijalna obrana – TO) weapons to minimize resistance.[1] On 17 August, the tensions escalated into an open revolt of the Croatian Serbs,[2] centred on the predominantly Serb-populated areas of the Dalmatian hinterland around Knin (approximately 60 kilometres (37 miles) north-east of Split),[3] parts of the Lika, Kordun, Banovina and eastern Croatia.[4] Serbia, supported by Montenegro and Serbia's provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo, unsuccessfully tried to obtain the Yugoslav Presidency's approval for a JNA operation to disarm Croatian security forces in January 1991.[5] The request was denied and a bloodless skirmish between Serb insurgents and Croatian special police in March[6] prompted the JNA itself to ask the Federal Presidency to give it wartime authority and declare a state of emergency. Even though the request was backed by Serbia and its allies, the JNA was denied on 15 March. Serbian President Slobodan Milošević, preferring a campaign to expand Serbia rather than to preserve Yugoslavia with Croatia as a federal unit, publicly threatened to replace the JNA with a Serbian army and declared that he no longer recognized the authority of the federal Presidency. The threat caused the JNA to gradually abandon plans to preserve Yugoslavia in favour of expansion of Serbia as the JNA came under Milošević's control.[7] By the end of March, the conflict had escalated to the first fatalities.[8] In early April, leaders of the Serb revolt in Croatia declared their intention to integrate areas under their control with Serbia. These were viewed by the Government of Croatia as breakaway regions.[9]

At the beginning of 1991, Croatia had no regular army. To bolster its defence, Croatia doubled police personnel to about 20,000. The most effective part of the force was 3,000-strong special police deployed in twelve battalions and adopting military organization of the units. There were also 9,000–10,000 regionally organized reserve police set up in 16 battalions and 10 companies. The reserve force lacked weapons.[10] As a response to the deteriorating situation, the Croatian government established the Croatian National Guard (Zbor narodne garde – ZNG) in May by merging the special police battalions into four all-professional guards brigades together consisting of approximately 8,000 troops subordinate to the Ministry of Defence headed by retired JNA General Martin Špegelj.[11] The regional police, by then expanded to 40,000, was also attached to the ZNG and reorganized in 19 brigades and 14 independent battalions. The guards brigades were the only units of the ZNG that were fully armed with small arms; throughout the ZNG there was a lack of heavier weapons and there was no command and control structure.[10] The shortage of heavy weapons was so severe that the ZNG resorted to using World War II weapons taken from museums and film studios.[12] At the time, Croatian stockpile of weapons consisted of 30,000 small arms purchased abroad and 15,000 previously owned by the police. A new 10,000-strong special police was established then to replace the personnel lost to the guards brigades.[10]


In 1991, Kijevo was a village of 1,261 people, 99.6% of whom were Croats. It was surrounded by the Serb villages of Polača, Civljane and Cetina.[13][14] Following the Log revolution, the three Serb villages had become part of the SAO Krajina and road access to Kijevo was restricted as barricades were set up in Polača and Civljane on the roads serving the village.[15] In response, its population set up an ad hoc militia.[16]

Following the Plitvice Lakes incident of 1 April 1991, SAO Krajina forces captured three Croatian policemen from nearby Drniš, with the intention of exchanging them for Croatian Serb troops taken prisoner by the Croatian forces at the Plitvice Lakes. In turn, the militia established by the residents of Kijevo captured several Serb civilians and demanded that the captured policemen be released in exchange for their prisoners.[16] On 2 April, JNA intelligence officers reported on this, and warned how local militias in Kijevo and Civljane, otherwise separated by barricades, were engaged in armed skirmishes that threatened to escalate.[16] Kijevo became strategically significant because its location hindered SAO Krajina road communications.[13]

April–May blockade

In the night of 27/28 April, a group of Croatian Ministry of the Interior officers managed to reach Kijevo,[17] and a Croatian police station was formally established in the village on 28 April.[18] The following day,[19] JNA troops, commanded by the JNA 9th (Knin) Corps chief of staff Colonel Ratko Mladić, moved in,[20] cutting all access and preventing delivery of supplies to Kijevo.[13] On 2 May,[21] a Croatian police helicopter made an emergency landing in Kijevo after sustaining damage caused by SAO Krajina troops gunfire. The helicopter was carrying then defence minister Luka Bebić and Croatian Parliament deputy speaker Vladimir Šeks. The aircraft was able to take off after repairs the same day.[22] Another skirmish took place on 2 May on Mount Kozjak, where a member of the SAO Krajina paramilitary was killed while on guard duty.[23]

Croatian President Franjo Tuđman called on the public to bring the siege to an end, and the plea resulted in a large-scale protest against the JNA in Split,[20] organised by the Croatian Trade Union Association in the Brodosplit Shipyard on 6 May 1991.[24] On 7 May, 80 tanks and tracked vehicles and 23 wheeled vehicles of the JNA 10th Motorised Brigade left barracks in Mostar, only to be stopped by civilians ahead of Široki Brijeg, west of Mostar. The convoy remained in place for three days as the crowd demanded that the JNA lift the siege of Kijevo. The protest ended after Alija Izetbegović, the President of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, visited and addressed the protesters, assuring the crowd that the convoy was heading to Kupres rather than Kijevo. Tuđman and Cardinal Franjo Kuharić sent telegrams to the protesters supporting Izetbegović.[25] The siege of Kijevo was lifted through negotiations a few days later, two weeks after the blockade had been imposed.[13]

August blockade

The May arrangement proved short-lived, as the JNA units, again led by Mladić, put up barricades to prevent entry into the village on 17 August 1991. The next day, the Croatian Serb leader Milan Martić laid down an ultimatum to the police and inhabitants of Kijevo, demanding that they leave the village and its vicinity within two days—or face an armed attack.[26][27]

Between 23 and 25 August, Croatian forces evacuated nearly the entire civilian population of the village.[28] On 25 August, Croatian forces launched a failed attack on JNA barracks in Sinj, 38 kilometres (24 miles) to the southeast of Kijevo. The objective of the attack was to obtain weapons, needed as Croatian positions near Kijevo deteriorated.[29]

On 26 August, the JNA attacked Kijevo, opposed by 58 policemen armed with small arms only and commanded by police station chief Martin Čičin Šain. Between 05:18 and 13:00, the JNA fired 1,500 artillery shells against the village, and the Yugoslav Air Force supported the attack with 34 close air support sorties. The same afternoon, the JNA mounted a ground force assault on Kijevo.[30] According to Martić, each house in Kijevo was fired upon.[31] The attacking force consisted of approximately 30 tanks supported by JNA infantry and Croatian Serb militia.[32]

The JNA entered the village by 16:30.[30] Lieutenant Colonel Borislav Đukić, in command of the Tactical Group-1 tasked with capture of Kijevo and the commanding officer of the JNA 221st Motorised Infantry Brigade, reported that the village was secured by 22:30.[33] The Croatian police fled Kijevo in three groups via Mount Kozjak towards Drniš.[30] The remaining Croatian population left after the artillery had destroyed much of their settlements.[34][35] The retreating groups were pursued by the Yugoslav Air Force jets as they made their way across the Kozjak.[36] Radio Television Belgrade reporter Vesna Jugović recorded these events. Krajina units commanded by Martić acted in concert with JNA to take command of the area.[37]


The clash between the Croatian forces and the JNA in Kijevo was one of the first instances where the JNA openly sided with the insurgent Serbs in the rapidly escalating Croatian War of Independence,[34] acting based on Martić's ultimatum.[31] The defending force suffered only two wounded, but one of the retreating groups was captured.[30] The group, consisting of 20 men,[38] were later released in a prisoner of war exchange.[30] The JNA suffered no casualties.[33] After the JNA secured Kijevo, the village was looted and torched.[32][36] The destruction of Kijevo became one of the most notorious Serb crimes in the early stages of the war.[39] The JNA units which took part in the fighting in and around Kijevo advanced towards Sinj in the following few days, capturing Vrlika before being redeployed to take part in the Battle of Šibenik in mid-September.[32]

At the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the trial of Milan Martić resulted in a guilty verdict with regard to Martić's involvement on Kijevo, and the findings of the Trial Chamber in 2007 regarding Kijevo were confirmed by the Appeals Chamber in 2008, based on witness testimonies about it being ethnic cleansing.[28] The siege of Kijevo was the first instance of application of the strategy of ethnic cleansing in the Yugoslav Wars.[40] The events at Kijevo were not included in the indictment at the trial of Ratko Mladić, but the Croatian judiciary tried Mladić in absentia for war crimes committed in Kijevo. He was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison.[41]


  1. ^ Hoare 2010, p. 117.
  2. ^ Hoare 2010, p. 118.
  3. ^ The New York Times & 19 August 1990.
  4. ^ ICTY & 12 June 2007.
  5. ^ Hoare 2010, pp. 118–119.
  6. ^ Ramet 2006, pp. 384–385.
  7. ^ Hoare 2010, p. 119.
  8. ^ Engelberg & 3 March 1991.
  9. ^ Sudetic & 2 April 1991.
  10. ^ a b c CIA 2002, p. 86.
  11. ^ EECIS 1999, pp. 272–278.
  12. ^ Ramet 2006, p. 400.
  13. ^ a b c d Gow 2003, p. 154.
  14. ^ Silber & Little 1996, p. 171.
  15. ^ Slobodna Dalmacija & 18 August 2010.
  16. ^ a b c Hrvatski vojnik & October 2012.
  17. ^ Municipality of Kijevo 2007.
  18. ^ Degoricija 2008, p. 49.
  19. ^ Hrvatski vojnik & May 2009.
  20. ^ a b Woodward 1995, p. 142.
  21. ^ FBIS & 2 May 1991, p. 38.
  22. ^ Nacional & 22 August 2005.
  23. ^ Ružić 2011, p. 411.
  24. ^ Slobodna Dalmacija & 6 May 2001.
  25. ^ Lučić 2008, p. 123.
  26. ^ Gow 2003, pp. 154–155.
  27. ^ Allcock, Milivojević & Horton 1998, p. 142.
  28. ^ a b ICTY & 12 June 2007, pp. 61–62.
  29. ^ Slobodna Dalmacija & 25 August 2010
  30. ^ a b c d e Deljanin & 27 May 2011.
  31. ^ a b Armatta 2010, p. 397.
  32. ^ a b c Novosti & 3 June 2011.
  33. ^ a b JNA & 27 August 1991.
  34. ^ a b Gow 2003, p. 155.
  35. ^ Silber & Little 1996, pp. 171–173.
  36. ^ a b Magaš 1993, p. 320.
  37. ^ Silber & Little 1996, p. 172.
  38. ^ ICTY & 12 June 2007, p. 107.
  39. ^ Hoare 2010, p. 122.
  40. ^ Gow 2003, p. 120.
  41. ^ Jutarnji list & 26 May 2011.


Books and scientific papers
News reports
Other sources

Coordinates: 43°58′44″N 16°21′04″E / 43.978889°N 16.351111°E

Association for Serbian language and literature in Croatia

Association for Serbian language and literature in Croatia is a nonprofit professional organization that brings together scientists and technical workers engaged in studying and teaching of Serbian language and literature in Croatia. The association operates throughout Croatia and its headquarters is in Vukovar.

In early 2011, the association issued first edition of the Proceedings which was presented at many schools and institutions in Croatia and the region. Publishing of the book was financed from funds of Vukovar city, Trpinja, Markušica, Šodolovci, Erdut municipalities and from private donations.The association has organized a number of seminars.In their work, the association collaborates with professors from the University of Belgrade, University of Zagreb, University of Novi Sad and with Matica srpska, Joint Council of Municipalities, The Institute for the Serbian language in Belgrade etc.

Church of St. Demetrius, Dalj

The Church of St. Demetrius (Croatian: Crkva svetog Dimitrija, Serbian Cyrillic: Црква светог Димитрија) is a Serbian Orthodox church in Dalj in eastern Croatia, and the cathedral of the Eparchy of Osječko polje and Baranja. The first church on this site was built in 1715, and the present-day church in 1799. The church of St. Demetrius is the largest cathedral of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Croatia.

Church of St. Peter and Paul, Bolman

Church of St. Peter and Paul (Croatian: Crkva svetog Petra i Pavla, Serbian Cyrillic: Црква светог Петра и Павла) in Bolman is a Serbian Orthodox church in eastern Croatia. The church is dedicated to St. Peter and Paul.

Church of St. Peter and Paul, Tepljuh

Church of Saint Peter and Paul in Tepljuh is Serbian Orthodox church in Croatia.

Church of St. Stephen, Borovo

The Church of St. Stephen (Croatian: Crkva svetog Stefana, Serbian Cyrillic: Црква светог Стефана) in Borovo is a Serbian Orthodox church in eastern Croatia. The church was built in the period from 1761 to 1764. Under its patronage was carried out first educational activities in the village. Church is listed in Register of Cultural Goods of Croatia. Iconostasis with 49 icons and other inventory is also specifically listed in Register.

Democratic Alliance of Serbs

The Democratic Alliance of Serbs (Croatian: Demokratski savez Srba or DSS, Serbian Cyrillic: Демократски савез Срба, ДСС) is a social democratic political party of Serbs in Croatia.

Gymnasium Vukovar

Gymnasium Vukovar (Serbo-Croatian: Gimnazija Vukovar/Гимназија Вуковар) is a secondary school situated in Vukovar, Croatia. Gymnasium Vukovar carries the educational programs of general secondary school, science and language direction. Classes are held in Croatian and Serbian language. In the school year 2007/2008, 384 students were enrolled. Of these, there were 248 female and 136 male students.

High School Dalj

High School Dalj is a public high school in Dalj, Erdut municipality, Croatia. The school offers the students the following educational programs: Economist, Commercial Officer (in Serbian), Agricultural Technician and Agricultural Technician General. In accordance with rights derived from Erdut Agreement Serbian minority in this school use right of education in minority language. For this reason, students can attend classes in Croatian or Serbian language and Serbian Cyrillic alphabet.

Independent Democratic Serb Party

The Independent Democratic Serb Party (Croatian: Samostalna demokratska srpska stranka or SDSS, Serbian Cyrillic: Самостална демократска српска странка, СДСС) is a social democratic political party of Serbs of Croatia.

Krajina dinar

The dinar (Serbian Cyrillic: динар) was the currency in the Republic of Serbian Krajina between 1992 and 1994.

Main Staff of the Army of the Republic of Serb Krajina

The Main Staff of the Army of the Republic of Serb Krajina (Serbian: Главни штаб Српске војске Крајине / Glavni štab Srpske vojske Krajine) was the highest professional and staff organ for preparation and use of the Army of the Republic of Serb Krajina in war and in peace.

The Main Staff was formed on 16 October 1992, and its activities started on 27 November of the same year. During its existence, the Main Staff had constant problems with personnel.

Museum of Serbs of Croatia

Museum of Serbs of Croatia (Croatian: Muzej Srba u Hrvatskoj, Serbian Cyrillic: Музеј Срба у Хрватској) was a public museum in Zagreb, which was specialized in history of Serbs of Croatia. Museum existed from 1946 till 1963 when it became part of Croatian History Museum. Today, part of the material is kept in Museum of Metropolitanate of Zagreb and Ljubljana, part in Prosvjeta, some in Museum of Croatian History and part of them were destroyed in mining of Museum of Metropolitanate of Zagreb and Ljubljana on 11 April 1992 during War in Croatia. In 2009, on 65 anniversary of Prosvjeta, organization has launched an initiative for restoration of museum work.

Orahovica Monastery

The Orahovica Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox monastery in Orahovica, Croatia. It is mentioned in 1583 when it was a seat of the Požega metropolitanate and an important culturo-religious center, located in the then Virovitica County. It is thought to have been built before the end of the 15th century.


Srpsko privredno društvo "Privrednik" (Serbian Cyrillic: Српско привредно друштво "Привредник"; English: Serbian Business Association "Privrednik") is an organization of Serbian minority in Croatia, which is aimed to creating and increasing economic opportunities in rural areas where majority of Serbs live in Croatia, as well as development of professional skills of individuals. Privrednik is a registered nongovernmental, nonprofit and nonpartisan organization.

Radio Borovo

Radio Borovo (Serbian Cyrillic: Радио Борово) is Serbian language radio station serving primarily Serb national minority in eastern Croatia. It has a local broadcasting license for the municipality of Borovo, Croatia. Its frequency is 100.7 MHz FM and it is heard in Vukovar-Srijem and Osijek-Baranja County and in Vojvodina in neighboring Serbia Radio Borovo is an independent radio station, privately owned, registered as a limited liability company - "Rhapsody", with 75% of initial capital owned by workers, and 25% owned by the municipality of Borovo. It is the most popular minority radio station in Croatia. It celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2011. Due to its promotion of human and minority rights, it is often collaborates with the non-governmental sector.

Serb People's Radical Party

The Serbian People's Radical Party (Serbian: Српска народна радикална странка, Srpska narodna radikalna stranka) was an ethnic Serb political party in Austria-Hungary.

It was a sister party of the People's Radical Party in Serbia.

It was one of the founders of the Serbo-Croat coalition (1905) that governed the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia, but it left the Coalition soon afterwards.

In 1918, it had two representatives in the National Council of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs.

Siege of Kijevo

Siege of Kijevo may refer to:

Siege of Kijevo (1991), a siege of the village of Kijevo near Knin during the Croatian War of Independence

Slana concentration camp

Slana concentration camp was a concentration and extermination camp on the Croatian island Pag.

The camp was established in June 1941 in Metajna. It was established by Mijo Babić and controlled by the Ustaše, who had been installed as rulers of the puppet state of Croatia by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Slana was a men's camp. Most prisoners were Jews, Serbs and Croatian communists. The commander of the camp was Ivan Devčević, who was also a commander of the 13th Ustaša battalion which was garrisoned in the camp.The camp was closed in August 1941 by the Italian military, who feared that the brutality of the Ustaše would provoke unrest in the region. Historians have estimated the death toll in Slana and the women's camp Metajna to be between 4,000 and 12,000. During the first weeks the inmates mainly died of physical abuse, exhaustion, hunger and thirst. When the transports became more frequent and the camp lacked space, the Ustaše began to execute many prisoners. The Author Ante Zemljar wrote a book about what happened in Slana in 1941: Charon and Destinies.

St. Basil of Ostrog Monastery

St. Basil of Ostrog Monastery (Serbian Latin: Manastir Sv. Vasilija Ostroškog) is a Serbian Orthodox monastery dedicated to Saint Basil of Ostrog located in the village of Crnogorci near the town of Imotski in Dalmatia, Croatia. The construction of the monastery began in 2005, and it had been suspended in 2006 after protests from the municipality of Podbablje.

Medieval wars
and battles
European 17th/18th-
century wars
19th-century wars
20th-century wars

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.