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Bosnian Serb leader sticks to his stance on Russia sanctions

Republika Srpska is under daily pressure from the US to slap restrictions on Moscow, Milorad Dodik has said

Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina will not support Western sanctions against Russia over the fighting with Ukraine despite Washington’s persistent demands, President Milorad Dodik said in an interview with RIA Novosti on Monday.

The current leader of Republika Srpska has reiterated this stance many times throughout the Ukraine conflict.

Under the Dayton Agreement of 1995, which put an end to a civil war, Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of the majority-Muslim Bosniak-Croat Federation and Republika Srpska. The country is ruled by a three-member presidency, which includes a Bosnian, a Serb and a Croat. The Balkan country can’t impose restrictions on Russia without consent from its Serbian part.

“I can’t be grateful to Americans who won’t even listen to what we think but are trying to decide [for us]. This is the crux of the issue – they don’t talk to us, but they make decisions about us. Every day there is pressure on us to unblock sanctions against Russia,” Dodik said.

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The US, EU and their allies have applied multiple rounds of restrictions on Moscow, targeting various economic sectors including trade embargoes, technology, finance, and energy since the fighting between Russia and Ukraine started in February 2022.

However, the Republika Srpska leader stressed that “there is not a single decision at the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina to officially impose sanctions against Russia.”

Dodik recalled a recent meeting with unnamed “high-ranking EU officials,” who, according to him, wanted to know when the restrictions on Moscow will come into force.

 ”This means that there are no sanctions, and we will continue like this, although it is a very difficult position,” he said.

The 64-year-old former basketball player is currently serving his third term as president of Srpska, having sat on Bosnia’s three-member presidency between 2018 and 2022. He has been open about his friendship with Russia and opposition to NATO membership, suggesting recently that Bosnia would be better off as a member of BRICS.

Dodik has filed a lawsuit against Bosnia’s ambassador to the UN, Sven Alkalaj, accusing him of overstepping his authority when he voted to condemn Russia in February 2023. The Bosnian Serb leader said at the time that renegade diplomats did not represent the country’s official position, and that Republika Srpska was proud of its good relations with Moscow.

June 03, 2024 at 03:21PM

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