Serbia, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina – Russian influence in the Balkans

Serbia and Russia signed an agreement on foreign policy consultations for 2023-2024 in the backstage of the UN General Assembly session in New York, prompting sharp criticism from EU officials. Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selaković explained that this type of agreement had already been signed many times since 1996 and was only a technical issue.

At a pre-election rally in the semi-autonomous Bosnian Serb region of Republika Srpska (one of the three constituent parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina), the Serb representative to the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik, condemned the West’s actions and praised Vladimir Putin for his policies in the Balkans. In early September this year, Dodik met with Putin in Moscow, and in subsequent speeches emphasised the need for Bosnian Serbs to secede from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

According to Dorin Rocean, security advisor to pro-Western Moldovan President Mai Sandu, Moldova can no longer rely solely on its neutral status and needs to strengthen itself militarily, especially from a defensive aspect. In 2022, Moldova has allocated 0.45% of its GDP to defence spending. Although the former Soviet republic applied for membership in the European Union in 2022 and strongly condemned the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russian troops are stationed in the separatist region of Transnistria – a de jure autonomous region in eastern Moldova – and the country itself is heavily dependent on Russian energy.

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