Serbian President Vucic calls for caution: There are 1500 NATO soldiers in Bosnia

"We face many challenges; significant forces are gathered in the region for various reasons."

by Sead Dedovic
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Serbian President Vucic calls for caution: There are 1500 NATO soldiers in Bosnia
© Stephanie Keith/Getty Images News

The situation is tense worldwide, not only in Ukraine and the Middle East. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has been playing an intriguing political game since the beginning of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Serbia's leader is attempting to balance and pursue a policy that won't align with either side in the Ukraine war. His statements are often unclear, making it difficult to draw a definitive conclusion, but judging by recent events, Vucic appears to be leaning towards Ukraine.

One reason some hold this view is because Russia is selling weapons to Ukraine, thus indirectly aiding them in the war against Russia. Russian authorities and citizens have not positively reacted to such moves by the Serbian government, potentially worsening relations between the two countries. 

Those familiar with European or Balkan politics know that in one part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country predominantly inhabited by Bosniaks, there exists an entity called Republika Srpska, where the majority Serbian population lives. Serbian authorities there aim to separate from Bosnia and gain independence. However, achieving such a scenario will be challenging. 

It is also well-known that Serbs do not recognize Kosovo, a former part of Serbia that declared independence, with much discussion about Serbs not giving up on "reclaiming lost territory." 

Today, Vucic chaired a meeting of the Joint Collegium of the Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, highlighting the presence of 1,500 NATO soldiers in Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, NATO forces are not only there but also in neighboring countries.

"At this moment, within the framework of the LTA mission, there are 1,500 NATO soldiers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and NATO forces are reinforced with something new, which are strategic reserves set up by the European Union. These reserves are not located on that territory but on the territory of neighboring countries such as Romania, Hungary, and Bulgaria," said Vucic, as translated by Klix.

The Serbian president emphasized that Serbia aims to analyze the situation prevailing in the region and the world, assessing where the threat originates, and is prepared to arm itself and develop its military industry. Vucic expressed concern about the presence of NATO soldiers in countries close to Serbia, viewing this as a specific message and a form of threat.

"We face many challenges; significant forces are gathered in the region for various reasons, from substantial forces of neighboring countries to a large number of NATO personnel in Kosovo. We count on good cooperation with KFOR and believe it will contribute to stabilizing the situation in Kosovo," said Vucic.

Aleksandar Vucic
Aleksandar Vucic© Omer Messinger/Getty Images News
 

The Kosovo Force (KFOR) is an international peacekeeping force led by NATO in Kosovo

Aleksandar Vucic stresses that many countries are closely monitoring Serbia's military activities, yet no one has crossed the border. He acknowledged that only an Albanian drone, 'Bajraktar,' was observed in ─Éakovica at high altitude, apparently to scout positions of the Serbian Armed Forces. 

Serbia is known to have strained relations with neighboring countries such as Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia. The politics and war of the 1990s still fuel tensions in this region, and it seems unlikely that such tensions will ever disappear. 

The conflict in Ukraine has further heightened tensions in the Balkans. Many fear that a similar fate could befall the Balkans, but it must be recognized that the situation here is quite different from that in Ukraine. We will see what the coming weeks and months bring, but judging by everything, the crisis gripping Europe appears to be at its peak. 

 UN Resolution on Srebrenica

Vucic also commented on the UN Resolution on Srebrenica, adopted by the United Nations. Specifically, Srebrenica is a Bosnian-Herzegovinian town where genocide against the Bosniak population (by Serbs) occurred in 1995, leading the UN to adopt a resolution designating July 11 as the International Day of Remembrance of the Srebrenica Genocide committed in 1995.

The Serbian authorities were not pleased with this, stressing that Srebrenica was not a place where genocide occurred. Serbian government policies strongly resemble those of the Russian government. 

The Serbian president immediately decided to react by stating that Serbia will seek adoption of a resolution on the genocide in the Jasenovac, Dachau, and Mauthausen camps, which occurred during World War II. A large number of Serbs died in these camps, which were established by the Independent State of Croatia at the time. 

Croatian authorities strongly reacted to Vucic statements. 

In the neighboring country of Montenegro, a resolution on the genocide in Jasenovac, Dachau, and Mauthausen was adopted on Friday. Serbian president emphasized that many view the Srebrenica resolution as a path to the future, mentioning that many discussions about the Jasenovac resolution are not seen as a way to resolve regional issues.

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