Brief: Russia Demonstrates Its Commitment to the Balkans

Moscow is committed to arresting the region's slide toward the EU and the West.

Background: The Balkans is a region where the interests of many powers – namely Russia, the United States, the European Union and Turkey – collide. But while the others are preoccupied with internal matters (the U.S. and EU) or an array of more pressing regional conflicts (Turkey), Moscow is using this time to make overtures to bolster its position there. Its attention in the region has focused mainly on Serbia, given its historical ties to that nation and Serbia’s central location in the region. What Happened: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov completed a two-day visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina on Tuesday. He had planned to meet with Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, but the Croat and Muslim members refused to meet with him on the second day of his trip because of comments he made a day earlier about the Dayton Accords that ran counter to Bosnia’s official position. During a meeting with the Serb member of the presidency, Lavrov said the accords – which ended the Bosnian War in the 1990s – should not be changed, despite a push by the West and Bosnian politicians to update them to allow political reforms to go ahead. He also said any attempts to […]

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