New war in the Balkans: the head of North Macedonia told where the Russian Federation will go after Ukraine

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New war in the Balkans: chapter North Macedonia told where the Russian Federation will go after Ukraine

The Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as northern Kosovo, are the most vulnerable points in the Western Balkans. Vladimir Putin's regime is provoking people to undermine peace in the region, emphasizes North Macedonian President Stevo Pendarovsky.

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Russia is capable of fomenting a military conflict in the Balkans to distract the West's attention from the war in Ukraine. This was stated on January 17 by the President of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovsky, at the International Economic Forum in Davos.

The President named two vulnerable points in the Western Balkans – the Republika Srpska as part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the north of the Republic of Kosovo.

“What is the regime of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin doing? It started many years ago, not after the war with Ukraine. He is trying to provoke people to undermine the integrity of these two countries,” said Pendarovsky.

The activity of Russian propaganda in the region has decreased over the past year, because Putin has thrown all his strength into confrontation with the West in Ukraine, Pendarovsky added.

“Individual local authorities (in the Balkans) are not happy with the peace agreements reached in the 90s. They are increasingly resorting to provocative rhetoric to destabilize the situation in the region,” he stressed.

The Western Balkans can become a place new hostilities faster than the Baltic countries in the event of switching attention to Russia, the head of North Macedonia believes.

“NATO and EU countries and EU candidate countries should think about it,” he said.

Pendarovsky stressed the importance of US policy, since it is they who provide Ukraine with military assistance more than others. He also focused on stopping Russia's aggression in Ukraine – if Kyiv falls, Putin's totalitarian regime will move on and European democracy will be threatened.

The outbreak of tension between Serbia and Kosovo

One of the reasons for the outbreak of the conflict was the introduction of new rules for re-registration of cars from November 1 last year in Kosovo and Metohija. Belgrade denied the new rules and put the troops on high alert.

Another reason is the detention of former Serbian policeman Dejan Pantic. The man was accused of violence against officials preparing local elections.

More than 200 police officers from Kosovo arrived on December 9, 2022 in the territory of the North Mitrovica municipality, where mostly Serbs live.

On December 28, Moscow declared its full support for Serbia in the aggravation of the confrontation with Kosovo. The Kremlin rejected Western statements about the destructive influence of Russia on what is happening.