Bosnia Ammunition Exports Rise Sharply, US a Top Buyer

Bosnia’s arms exports nearly doubled in the first four months of the year compared to the same period in 2023, official data showed Monday, with the United States reportedly a top destination.

Shipments amounted to 133 million convertible marks ($74 millions) or nearly 98 percent more compared with the same period in 2023, according to the national statistics agency figures.

The agency did not specify on the type of weapons and ammunition.

Bosnian Defense Minister Zukan Helez recently praised what he called the “expansion of the weapons industry” in the country.

He said local factories manufactured ammunition including “rockets and shells” that are exported “across the world, from the United States to the Middle East and the countries of the European Union.”

Local media reported that the increase related notably to ammunition exports to the United States and Slovakia, but also to Bulgaria and neighboring Serbia.

In 2023, Bosnia’s weapons and ammunition exports totaled 163 million euros ($178 million), a 26 percent increase from the previous year.

The increase coincides with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, although the Balkan nation does not have a sales contract with Ukraine.

However, several local media have recently reported that some of the ammunition is ending up on the Ukrainian front.

On Sunday, Bosnian Serb political leader Milorad Dodik, a Kremlin ally, was quoted by RTRS television as saying that his entity was preventing “direct exports” of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine.

During a summit in February in the Albanian capital, Tirana, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for the urgent delivery of arms and ammunition to his country and spoke of his government’s wish to organize an “Ukrainian-Balkan forum on the defense industry.”

Bosnia’s arms and ammunition factories were founded when the country was part of communist Yugoslavia.

According to experts, Bosnia supplied half of the former federation’s military capacities.

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