Alija Kozljak, head of the Department of International Relations and European Studies at the International Burch University and a former military representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to NATO, announced sanctions against some BiH politicians. He stated that the situation in the country must be viewed on a broader level, specifically on the NATO-Russia relationship, and added that “whatever agreement there is between these two opposing sides,” Milorad Dodik will be stopped “, that is he will no longer be a relevant factor on the political scene.
Also, he noted that it is not a priority for Russia to threaten BiH’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, but they are using BiHand the Western Balkans to achieve goals. Russia gives direct support to Dodik and that is a threat to BiH.
He said that the issue of BiH cannot be viewed isolated on a wider scale, especially after the talks between NATO and Russia.
”These are big games where BiH is one of the fronts, and Dodik is a tool used by Russia. Unfortunately, he is a tool used against BiH. Everything that Dodik is doing would not be so effective if the Russian Federation and its interests were not behind it, that is, the tacit support of Serbia.
Russia’s key priority is to stop NATO’s eastward expansion. However, Russia’s interest could be greater than NATO’s expansion. Putin has strengthened his armed forces and some of his generals support him, saying that they are powerful enoughto restore the strength of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics(USSR). The interest of the Russian Federation is to regain influence in the former republics of the USSR. If Russia were to take an interest in Ukraine, then the next thing would be to go further – to weaken NATO‘s influence in other countries through their friends.
”In that phase, any chance to stabilize the situation would be lost, especially since the sanctions should have gone in a package with the Bonn powers. It was estimated that this would jeopardize security and stability. Because then who would you stabilize the situation with? Now the situation is relatively stable, you can see that about a month ago posters mentioningweapons were pasted. The situation has stabilized quite a bit. The Presidency of BiH is functioning again, the Council of Ministers has made a decision on a single code. Dodik will not give up, but he will be stopped in any scenario (agreement between Russia and NATO). He will soon no longer be a relevant and legitimate interlocutor, and a replacement will be found for him, ” told Kozljak.
He pointed out that the NATO integration of BiH was questioned by politicians from Republika Srpska (RS), as well as some from the Federation of BiH (FBiH).
”But we are five steps closer to NATO than the European Union (EU). We have never received candidate status from the Union. In NATO, we received the membership action plan (MAP)status, which is like a candidate, and we have already submitted the first annual plan. We need nothing more for NATO than a political decision. That is not the case for the EU, ” concluded Alija Kozljak.