February 21. 2024. 8:08

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Russian envoy makes veiled threats if Bosnia joins NATO

Russia reserves the right to a “proportionate response” should Bosnia and Herzegovina join NATO or any organisation hostile to Moscow, the Russian ambassador in Sarajevo wrote in a Facebook post meant to debunk misconceptions about ‘Russian threats against Bosnia’.

In a long text posted on Tuesday to mark Russia’s “Day of Diplomacy”, Ambassador Igor Kalabukhov stressed that no one has the right to meddle in Bosnia’s affairs, “neither Russia, nor the EU, nor the USA”.

“Bosnia and Herzegovina is free to take any step on the global scene, join any organisation. If this is what the majority of citizens want, and if it is useful for the country, go ahead, we will be happy”.

“But you have to understand that if you join a bloc whose main aim is the destruction of Russia, then we have the right to defend ourselves.”

Although Kalabukhov said that “as long as you are not taking any measures against us, we are relaxed and feel no need to step up our defences”, he went on: “Let’s be realistic: If a hypothetical Brussels or Washington ordered the deployment of nuclear missiles aimed at Moscow, then the hypothetical Sarajevo, a future member of organisations under their control, would be forced to do it.”

“So it’s a free choice, but please, do not limit our own right to respond. Proportionally, of course.”

Seeking to end on a reassuring note, the ambassador concluded: “As long as we are not 100% sure about the reality of vile plans for the destruction of our country, no one will push the red button. Speaking seriously, I do not think we should expect any extreme developments.”

Bosnia and Herzegovina was divided into two parts – the Federation and the Serb Republic – at the end of the 1992-1995 war among its three ethnic groups, Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs.

Bosnia participates in NATO’s Membership Action Plan but has made little progress towards membership of the alliance. Bosnian Serbs oppose NATO membership and have also refused to join in international sanctions against Russia.

(Zoran Radosavljević | EURACTIV.com)