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Russia warns it will ‘have to react’ if Bosnia moves to join NATO

Russia will react if Bosnia takes steps towards joining NATO because Moscow would perceive this as a hostile act, the Russian embassy in Bosnia said in a statement on Thursday.

Aug 25, 2019: The three members of Bosnia’s multi-ethnic presidency have failed to break a deadlock on forming a new government more than ten months after the general election. A meeting Tuesday between Bosnia’s Muslim, Serb and Croat leaders ended without an agreement on forming the new cabinet because the Bosnian Serb member of the presidency, Milorad Dodik, was against a package that would also include adopting an action plan that would move Bosnia closer to NATO membership.

Bosnia has long proclaimed integration with NATO and the European Union as strategic goals. But the Bosnian Serbs, led by pro-Russian Milorad Dodik who currently chairs the country’s tripartite presidency, want the country to remain neutral and stay out of the U.S.-led military alliance.

“In the case of practical rapprochement of Bosnia and Herzegovina and NATO, our country will have to react to this hostile act,” the embassy said.

It continued that the purpose of NATO was a “fight against Russia” and joining NATO will force Sarajevo to take a side in the “military-political confrontation”.

Bosnia and Serbia are the only two Western Balkan countries that remain outside NATO after North Macedonia joined the alliance last year.

Feb 16, 2018: There’s major concerns over Russia’s influence in Eastern Europe. Bosnia-Herzegovina remains a deeply divided country despite a decades-old peace agreement that ended a brutal civil war in the Balkans. The nation is split between a Bosnian Serb republic and a Muslim-Croat federation. The Bosnian Serb police are expected to receive 2,500 new automatic rifles next month. But there’s fears Russia will train the officers and increase the risk of conflict. Alex Kliment, a CBSN contributor and Signal newsletter writer, takes CBSN through the latest.

On Thursday, the new Russian ambassador to Bosnia Igor Kalabuhov met Zeljko Komsic, the Croat presidency member who advocates Bosnia’s integration into the alliance.

A statement from Komsic’s office did not mention NATO integration as a topic of the meeting, but said they discussed reforms that Bosnia needs to make to get closer to EU membership.

Russia has long maintained its opposition to Bosnia joining NATO.

Komsic and Bosniak presidency member Sefik Dzaferovic declined to meet visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergej Lavrov in December, saying he has shown disrespect to their state after his meeting with Dodik outside Sarajevo with no Bosnian national flag on display.


Published by amongthefray

News with a historical perspective. Fighting against misinformation, hate, and revisionist history.

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