Russian Embassy Accuses West of ‘NATOisation’ of Bosnia

Russian Embassy Accuses West of ‘NATOisation’ of Bosnia

Russian Embassy Accuses West of ‘NATOisation’ of Bosnia – The Russian embassy in Sarajevo alleged on Tuesday that the impending arrival of German troops in Bosnia and Herzegovina to bolster the European Union’s EUFOR peacekeeping force, also known as Operation Althea, was part of Western attempts to militarily dominate the Balkan country.

“It seems that certain Western states, primarily the United States and Great Britain, are preparing the ground for creeping NATOisation,” the embassy said in a statement.

The statement said that, based on the EU force’s latest report to the UN, whose mission is to ensure continued compliance with the 1995 Dayton peace agreement that ended the Bosnian war, the security situation in the country is stable and so additional troops are unnecessary.

“This is in no way being done to strengthen internal security in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which, as the Westerners themselves note, is not threatened, but for geopolitical domination and the desire to maintain their hegemony at all costs,” the Russian embassy added.

On Monday the first group of German troops – out of planned 50 – was deployed to Bosnia, raising the number of EUFOR participating countries to 20.

EUFOR’s mandate expires in November and must be renewed at the UN Security Council. Western countries are concerned that Russia might block this.

The Russian embassy’s statement also comes after US senators on August 5 proposed new legislation called the Western Balkans Democracy and Prosperity Act which says that the US should support maintaining EUFOR’s mandate in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

If Russia blocks reauthorisation of the mission at the UN Security Council, the proposed legislation says that the United States should use its influence within NATO to encourage alliance to support an international military force to maintain the security in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Russian embassy said that it did not rule out “provocations that will prove the ‘weakness’ of EUFOR and the need to replace it with occupying NATO troops”.

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic responded to the Russian statement by saying that Moscow had previously given support to the Law on the Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which provided a legal framework for Bosnia to take steps towards NATO integration.

“NATO [troops] in Bosnia and Herzegovina are not ‘occupation troops’, as the Russian Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina claims in its comment published on social networks,” Turkovic said.

Turkovic also said that Bosnia and Herzegovina expects countries that support the Dayton peace agreement to refrain from statements that do not contribute to peace and stability, “including the mention of unidentified ‘provocations’”.

She argued that statement like this prove the need for the continued presence of international military forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In another development on Tuesday night, the Foreign Ministry said it received a letter addressed to Turkovic and Bosnia’s international overseer Christian Schmidt threatening them with a response from “powerful Russia and Putin”.

The letter had a Serbian postmark and the ministry said the sender signed it in the name of Bosnian Serb wartime military chief and genocide convict Ratko Mladic.

There are currently close to 1,200 soldiers in Operation Althea, distributed throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. The last contingent of 500 soldiers joined in March, about a month after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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