“Serbia will fight and win”, what is behind Aleksandar Vucic’s alarming message

The message is as vague as it is disturbing: “At this moment it is not easy to say for certain what kind of news we have received over the past forty-eight hours. It directly threatens the vital national interests of both Serbia and Srpska.” Written by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on his Instagram account. Vucic added: “In the next few days, I will present to the Serbian people all the challenges that await us. They will be difficult, the most difficult yet. We will fight and Serbia will win.” The post, which lacks clarity, raises multiple conclusions.

The words of the Serbian President must be seen in a very complex period, relating to neighboring countries: on the one hand Kosovo and on the other hand Bosnia and Herzegovina. Both countries have areas where ethnic Serbs make up the majority of citizens, and Belgrade has never stopped claiming its desire for reunification with these territories. If this option becomes more realistic, new conflict scenarios will open up in the Balkans. This is a possibility that Italy wants to avoid, given its geographical proximity to that region of the European continent.

Ongoing tension in Kosovo

The past year was marked above all by tensions between Serbia and Serbia Kosovo, with a serious attack in which NATO soldiers were also injured, the entry of paramilitary forces from Serbia, and an exchange of fire in which a Kosovo policeman was killed. In the last ten days, two sessions of EU-brokered negotiations were held in Brussels, focusing on the consequences of the ban on the Serbian dinar in Kosovo, but without reaching an agreement on how to solve the EU's problems. Thousands of Serbs who no longer receive salaries and pensions paid in dinars directly from Belgrade. A new round of negotiations is scheduled for April 4. Meanwhile, Belgrade is mobilizing against a possible first approval by the Council of Europe to accept Kosovo. For the Serbian leadership, this is a decision that would violate international law and the statute of the Pan-European Organization, considering that Kosovo, for Belgrade, is neither a sovereign state nor a member of the United Nations, but rather a territory belonging to Belgrade. Serbia.

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Secession of Republika Srpska

However, today's message from the President Vucic was re-elected amid controversy Last December, it was likely a reference to the winds of secession that blew from Republika Srpska, one of the two entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The population of Republika Srpska is 1.2 million, most of whom are Orthodox Christian Serbs. The other entity is the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose majority consists of Bosniaks and Croats. Since early 2024, Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik has intensified his threats to secede from Bosnia, sparking international concern.

Republika Srpska and Bosnia

Dodik's goal is to “declare complete independence” for Serb-controlled territories if Western democracies try to interfere in the country's institutions. In recent weeks, during the opening of the extraordinary session of the local parliament in Banja Luka, the nationalist leader sent a clear message: “Goodbye Bosnia, hello the exit of Republika Srpska,” with a veiled comparison between Britain’s exit from the European Union and the secession of Republika Srpska. Choose English to send your message internationally more quickly.

Dodik and Vucek in the photo ig

“Finally the people will decide. We will demand that the status of Republika Srpska be determined at the ballot boxes,” Dodik said during a meeting in Belgrade with President Vucic, referring to the desire to hold a referendum. The separatist threats made by the National President of Republika Srpska have been continuing for years. The separatist agenda has always been on his agenda and is brought up again periodically. But why accelerate now?

Dodik - Republika Srpska

The first fuse goes back to the decision of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina regarding approximately 100,000 hectares of agricultural land. According to the judges, they do not belong to the Serbian entity, but rather belong to the central state. The court was established under the Dayton Accords, and consists of two Croats, two Serbs, and two Bosniaks, in addition to three international judges. Dodik has been attacking the latter for years, describing the court as an “occupation court” that would interfere in the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina's entities. In a sign of protest, the Bosnian Serb Parliament decided to boycott federal institutions and not participate in the work of the central government.

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Opening of accession negotiations for Bosnia and Herzegovina

Meanwhile, on March 21, news emerged that the European Council had officially begun Bosnia and Herzegovina's accession negotiations to the European Union, after a group of countries, led by Italy, intensified pressure by loudly calling for openness. This move by the bloc's 27 governments may also have been dictated by the need to curb separatist pressures, providing a “step forward” towards EU accession. It is an advance that was appreciated by the Sarajevo government, but Dodik does not see it as positive, as he interpreted membership as further interference. “Imposing possible changes to the electoral law would represent the cancellation of all declared values ​​so far, including those related to the European Union that we have heard about, especially recently when Bosnia and Herzegovina was granted negotiating status. So that’s it.” “A lie. Someone here is telling a big lie,” Dodik commented in his post

Relations with Moscow

Brussels' reassurances did not deter the extreme nationalist politician from insisting on the referendum. Dodik, as well as Serbian President Vucic, depends on the Kremlin's support. After the Islamist attacks in Moscow, the Bosnian Serb nationalist leader recalled his closeness to the Russian people. Vladimir Putin never stopped maintaining his relations with Belgrade, exploiting in many cases the influence of the Orthodox Church that links the two countries. While the European Commission aims to keep the Dayton Agreement regulating peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina alive, Moscow supports Dodik's requests to get rid of Western “interference.” During a meeting with Putin on February 21, Dodik reassured the Russian president, saying that Republika Srpska had no intention of joining sanctions against Russia or joining NATO.

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What could happen on May 5 and 6?

The two key dates for the fate of Republika Srpska are May 5 and 6, as Dodik himself announced. And in a blog post also to preserve the common culture.” In addition to Vucic’s disturbing letter, the hypothesis was put forward that the declaration of a “union” between Serbia and Republika Srpska could take place on those dates. Then the wounds that were never healed in the countries of the former Yugoslavia could open Again.

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