British PM Boris Johnson announces sending military experts to assist Bosnia

NEWS 30.06.2022 14:24
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Source: Ured Borisa Johnsona/Twitter

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday his government would sent assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina, warning that the country is facing the "greatest existential threat in its post-war period" and that Russia is directly responsible for undermining Bosnia's stability.

“We cannot allow the Western Balkans to become another playground for Putin’s pernicious pursuits. By fanning the flames of secessionism and sectarianism Russia seeks to reverse the gains of the last three decades in Bosnia and Herzegovina, gains that have brought more stability to our whole continent,” Johnson said, in a statement released by his office.

“Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently facing the greatest existential threat in its post-war period, with secessionist leaders actively working to create further division and conflict… these plans are backed by Moscow as part of Putin’s drive to undermine both Bosnia’s Euro-Atlantic integration and its stability,” Johnson added.

UK military specialists will be sent to Bosnia and Herzegovina to reinforce NATO Headquarters Sarajevo, which is tasked with supporting defence reform and Bosnia’s Defence Ministry. A UK military counter-disinformation expert and a civilian strategic defence adviser will be deployed to support and train the Bosnia’s Armed Forces so they are brought up to NATO standard.

In addition, the UK will provide £750,000 (€870,000) to establish a cyber-security centre of excellence within the University of Sarajevo.

“The UK will work closely with media outlets and Bosnian institutions to equip them with the tools to identify and mitigate the effects of fake news and disinformation,” the press release said.

Earlier this year British government imposed sanctions against Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of Bosnia’s three-member Presidency, and Zeljka Cvijanovic, President of the Serb entity Republika Srpska (RS), considering them responsible for undermining Bosnia’s territorial integrity and stability, as well as secessionist plans aiming to separate the entity from the rest of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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