Today the Russian Ambassador to BiH will address the RS National Assembly. The deputies in the RSNA are likely to hear disinformation about Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. You are likely to hear that Russia is protecting people from Nazism. These are outrageous lies. Moscow seeks to exploit the cultural and religious bonds that Russia shares with the Serb people to divert your attention from its crimes in Ukraine. RSNA delegates have the power to stand up for civilizational values by rejecting Russia’s cynical disinformation and standing on the side of thousands of Ukrainians who are being targeted, kidnapped, raped, tortured, and killed in Russia’s war.
You are also likely to hear that ‘the West’ is trying to deprive the peoples of BiH of their identity. Nothing could be further from the truth. As guarantors of the Dayton Peace Agreement, BiH’s European and American partners work to ensure that all citizens of BiH can exercise their cultural and ethnic rights in full equality. Effective protection of these rights is at the core of Euro-Atlantic integration. The people of BiH – Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks, and all others – know that this is the path to a better future for their children right here in their own country. We protect rights, we do not trample on them like Russia has done to its own citizens and is doing now to the citizens of Ukraine.
You are likely to be told that the West “interferes” in Bosnia and Herzegovina, forcing it to implement reforms. This country applied for EU membership on its own accord. Yes, the process of Euro-Atlantic integration that BiH has chosen comes with the need for reforms. This is not interference. Interference is what Russia is doing in BiH: stoking division in this country and threatening dire consequences if BiH chooses to exercise its sovereign rights.
The EU and the United States remain friends and partners of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and of both entities and the Brcko District, as integral and crucial parts of the country. Moscow’s manipulation does not have the power to weaken our support or destroy the resolve of BiH citizens fighting for a brighter future within the Euro-Atlantic community of nations.