As concerns mount instability from the Ukraine war could spread to the Western Balkans, Germany has deployed troops with the European Union’s peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) for the first time in a decade.
A German military spokesman said that the first German troops which returned to the country were greeted on Tuesday’s ceremony at the EUFOR’s Sarajevo headquarters. Deploying plans will see some 30 German troops to Bosnia by mid-September, returning to the force that Germany had left at the end of 2012.
The statement that EUFOR issued noted that German troops are to provide additional capacity to Operation Althea’s headquarters as well as at a network of outposts that provide a link to local governments and communities.
The mission stressed that their deployment further demonstrates the EU’s commitment to a stable and prosperous European future for all BiH citizens.
As the first group of Bundeswehr soldiers deployed outside Sarajevo, they faced objection from the Bosnian Serbs while the Russian embassy warned of NATO power games.
The Bosnian Serb member of the Bosnian tripartite presidency, Milorad Dodik, said that Germany’s military presence in Bosnia cannot be supported nor trusted by the Serbs given the recent Bundestag resolution aimed at revising the Dayton Peace Accords.
Dodik emphasized that the German resolution represents meddling in another country’s internal affairs and interferes with their constitutional order, reminding that Germany’s history as occupiers in both world wars in the region also plays a significant role in the Serbs distrusting Berlin’s actions.
The Russian embassy in Sarajevo called the German troops’ deployment part of the creeping NATO-ization of BiH which is part of the US-UK agenda.
Just as a reminder, the extension of EUFOR’s mandate, which is scheduled to expire in November, will be up to the UN Security Council where Russia has a veto. However, that might not have a large impact given that Western countries appointed the former German politician Christian Schmidt as the new “high representative” in Bosnia last year after Russia refused to approve his appointment.