Russia Says It Will ‘Have to React’ If Bosnia Makes Steps Towards Joining NATO

In the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s practical approach to NATO, Russia will “have to react to this hostile act”, the Embassy of Russia in Sarajevo said on Thursday (18.03).  

The statement comes as a response to what the embassy called “numerous publications praising the advantages of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s membership in NATO”, but did not specify which publications it referred to. 

“We call on BiH friends to think carefully, to consider all pros and cons, to take into consideration the opinion of all its citizens who are far from a consensus on this matter”, the statement said, the Radio Free Europe reported. 

Bosnia inaugurated its Commission for Cooperation with NATO, based on a decision of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina from February 24. 

The statement comes as a response to what the embassy called “numerous publications praising the advantages of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s membership in NATO”, but did not specify which publications it referred to. 

Commander of the NATO Headquarters in Sarajevo, General Eric Folkestad, said on this occasion it was important that NATO and BiH have relations and that the door of the alliance remains open for the country, but only after it decides whether to join or not. 

Bosnia remains the only country besides Serbia in the Western Balkans outside NATO. Potential membership would require a consensus of two semi-autonomous regions and three major ethnic groups. But, while Euro-Atlantic integration is popular in Bosniak-Croat shared Federation (FBiH) entity, the leadership of the Serb-majority Republika Srpska entity strongly objects to NATO membership and its official stance is they would follow Serbia’s decisions on this matter. 

In December 2019, its entity parliament adopted a resolution on military neutrality, in line with neighboring Serbia. 

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