The UN Security Council agreed unanimously Wednesday to support the renewal of the European peacekeeping force in Bosnia and Herzegovina, although Russia expressed some reservations.
The Council’s approval permits the European Union to extend the Eufor-Althea military force for one year to insure the implementation of the 1995 Dayton Accords that ended the three-year Bosnian war.
Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Anna Evstigneeva said her country supported the resolution for the extension because it was “depoliticized” and “purely technical.”
“At the same time, we would like to say once again we are concerned with the still unjustified and still unexplained doubling of the Eufor contingent in 2022,” she said.
On February 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine, Eufor announced the deployment of an additional 500 soldiers to Bosnia and Herzegovina, nearly doubling the 600 already in place.
In April US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Western countries were studying alternative solutions to make sure an international stabilization force can remain in Bosnia in case Russia blocks it at the United Nations.
At the end of October, Milorad Dodik, leader of the Bosnian Serbs, said he would request Russian President Vladimir Putin to support the continuation of Eufor-Althea, to avoid it being replaced by a NATO force, which Putin views as a threat.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is run by a tripartite presidency, aspires to join the Western military alliance.
But Dodik, who keeps friendly relations with Putin, and other Bosnia-Serb leaders strongly opposed the idea.