After One Decade, Germany Sends Military Troops Back to Bosnia

After One Decade, Germany Sends Military Troops Back to Bosnia
Germany Sends Military Troops Back to Bosnia

Berlin - Germany has deployed troops with an EU Peacekeeping mission in Bosnia for the first time in a decade. The move was taken because of fears the instability from the Ukraine war could spread to the Western Balkans.

On Tuesday (16/8/2022), the first German troops to return to the country were welcomed in a ceremony at EUFOR's Sarajevo troop headquarters. According to a German military spokesman, this marked the start of their mission in Bosnia. Germany will deploy about 30 troops in total to Bosnia by mid-September.

German troops will return to troops they left at the end of 2012. Bosnia is hundreds of miles from fighting in Ukraine, but faces an increasingly assertive Bosnian Serb separatist movement. According to experts, the movement has at least tacit support from Moscow.

NATO and senior EU officials have warned that instability from the war in Ukraine could spread to the Western Balkans. Just days after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the EU decided to almost double the size of the EUFOR peacekeeping force to 1,100 from 600 troops by sending reserves to prevent potential instability.

Meanwhile, during a visit to the northern city of Novi Grad on Tuesday, Bosnian Serb separatist leader Milorad Dodik said German troops were not welcome in the region. He refers to Germany's role in World War II.

Previously, Dodik regretted the approval as a member of the country's presidency to extend the mandate of EUFOR. The Russian embassy in Bosnia in a statement on its website condemned "unacceptable references" to the impact of events in Ukraine on the situation in Bosnia and said EUFOR itself had described the situation as peaceful and stable in its latest report to the UN Security Council.

EUFOR replaced NATO peacekeeping forces in Bosnia in 2004. European troops were meant to stabilize the country after Bosnian Serbs, Croats and Bosnians waged wars for territory in the 1990s in which 100,000 people died.

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