• For full details of graphics available/in preparation, see Menu -> Planners
 Kruitvat op de Balkan infographic
Graphic shows Republika Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Kruitvat op de Balkan

By Duncan Mil

May 6, 2022 - The Kremlin is destabilising Bosnia and Herzegovina -- with Russia’s Serbian kinsfolk’s backing -- as the Bosnian Serb leader of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, intensifies his goal of secession.

Three decades after the outbreak of the Bosnian war, which claimed the lives of around 100,000 people, another armed conflict looms with separatists certain of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s support.

From the Republika Srpska capital of Banja Luka, Dodik wants to re-establish an independent army -- the same one convicted of ethnic cleansing and genocide during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia. In February, Dodik hailed Putin’s decree recognising the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine as independent states.

A push to activate the Republika Srpska secession plan could open a new front in Moscow’s confrontation with the West. The Kremlin could recognise Republika Srpska as an independent state and provide support, particularly by Wagner Group mercenary units, Kornet anti-tank guided missiles and Chinese HQ-22 surface-to-air missile systems, both recently purchased by the Serbian army.

A conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina -- the underbelly of Europe -- would distract the world from Russia’s bid to annex eastern and southern Ukraine and undermine Western support for Bosnia’s NATO and EU goals.

For the first time in two decades, the number of Serbians against joining the European Union is higher than those who want to become a member, according to an April survey by Ipsos, published in the Blic newspaper. The poll revealed that 44% of participants are against membership while 35% are in favour.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has also set a pretext for possible intervention, alleging that mercenaries from Bosnia are in the Donbas fighting against Moscow-backed rebels.

PUBLISHED: 06/05/2022; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images