International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Soldiers from 20 countries to participate in EUFOR military exercise in Bosnia

October 16, 2022
Soldiers from 20 countries will participate in the EUFOR Quick Response 2022 exercise in Bosnia and Herzegovina from October 17 to November 22, the EU peacekeeping mission in BiH announced.
The goal of the exercise is to “demonstrate EUFOR’s capability and determination to contribute to a safe and secure environment for BiH citizens.”
“As in previous years, EUFOR will temporarily increase its presence by increasing the number of troops, increasing patrolling and holding tactical exercises in selected urban and rural locations, working closely with the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, local communities and law enforcement authorities,” it said.
The EUFOR statement says the military exercise shows the commitment of the EU to the European future of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its citizens.
The mandate of EUFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina is renewed every year by the UN Security Council. The UN Security Council is expected to discuss the matter on November 3.
There are currently 1,100 EUFOR soldiers in BiH, but by activating reserve troops from abroad, a total of 3,500 soldiers can be engaged.
Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/soldiers-from-20-countries-to-participate-in-eufor-military-exercise-in-bosnia/

US European Command Commander arrives in Bosnia

October 17, 2022
General Christopher G. Cavoli, commander of United States European Command, has arrived in Sarajevo on Monday, where he expressed support to the EU military mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, EUFOR Althea.
The US Embassy in Sarajevo confirmed the official's arrival.
“We warmly welcomed USEUCOM Commander Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli today to Sarajevo. The U.S. resolutely supports BIH. Gen Cavoli expressed support for EUFOR Althea and the mission's reauthorization,” the embassy said.
Cavoli's visit comes on the day when a military exercise that gathered troops from 20 countries starts in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
He paid a visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina last year as well as well, when members of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United States Army organised a demonstration exercise as part of the joint multi-day action “Quick Response 21” at the Manjaca training ground near Banja Luka in the north of the country.
Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/us-european-command-commander-arrives-in-bosnia/

Serbian military starts joint forces exercise

October 18, 2022
The Serbian military began a joint forces exercise on Tuesday with the engagement of active duty personnel and reserves, the Defense Ministry said.
A press release said that the 3 week Maneuvers 2022 exercise will include land and air forces as well as the river fleet. “The training activities aim to further improve the capability of the commands and units for operation planning and execution, for preventive deployment of forces, organizing joint action and living and working arrangements in the field,” it said.
The exercise begins in military base with training for reserves before moving on to deployments in the field. The final stage will include tactical drills and exercises and live fire training with a variety of weapons.
The press release said that joint forces exercises exercises are “of crucial importance for the overall combat readiness of the Serbian Armed Forces”.
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-military-starts-joint-forces-exercise/

Ransomware group blamed for Montenegro cyber attack

September 1, 2022

Montenegro’s Minister of Public Administration Marash Dukaj said that the Cuba ransomware group was behind the cyber attacks on the country’s institutions.

Dukaj told Montenegro’s state TV (RTCG) that the damage is hard to assess but added that the state IT system did not suffer any permanent damage. The Public Administration Ministry warned companies providing power and water, ports, airports and telecommunications providers to raise security levels.

The minister said that the government contacted cyber crime experts who will travel to Montenegro. An FBI team is reported to be on its way to Podgorica.

The securityweek.com portal said that the ransomware group called Cuba said on its Tor-based leak website that it breached Montenegro parliament systems. It said the group claims to have stolen files, including financial documents and source code and allegedly obtained correspondence with bank employees, balance sheets, account activity, compensation data, and tax documents.

It said that the Cuba ransomware Montenegro Parliament page has a download button for the stolen files but that it was not working when the portal tested it.

A number of Montenegrin institutions were under a cyber attack which began on August 20. Officials in Podgorica initially blamed the attack on Russia.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/ransomware-group-blamed-for-montenegro-cyber-attack/

US Ambassador hopes Serbian soldiers will join US troops on peace mission

August 26, 2022
US Ambassador Christopher Hill expressed hope on Friday that Serbian military personnel would join US troops on the international peace operation on Sinai.
American troops are deployed to the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in Sinai supervising the implementation of the security provisions of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.
“Fantastic conversation with true professional General Mojsilovic on how the US and Serbia could expand and deepen their military partnership. The next step: We hope Serbian soldiers will join our soldiers in the international peace operation in Sinai,” the US embassy quoted the ambassador as saying in a Twitter post after a meeting with the Serbian Army chief of general staff.
The Serbian military has had a partnership with the Ohio National Guard since 2006. That is one of 22 partnerships with east and central European countries that make up the US European Command State Partnership Program (EUCOM SPP).
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/us-ambassador-hopes-serbian-soldiers-will-join-us-troops-on-peace-mission/

KFOR-We are in regular contact with Serbian Armed Forces

August 25, 2022
KFOR said that the commanders of this NATO mission’s regional commands are in regular contact with all the main interlocutors, including the representatives of the Serbian Armed Forces.
“KFOR maintains a visible and agile posture on the ground and Regional Commands Commanders are in regular contact with all the main interlocutors, including the representatives of the Serbian Armed Forces,” said KFOR in a Twitter post.
KFOR commander Major General Ferenc Kajari said Tuesday that KFOR has increased its presence in northern Kosovo.
KFOR has established observation points and technical control points throughout the space. Also, we have increased the patrolling activity in the whole region. These measures are taken to be ready for any incident and greater safety. If there are tensions, we will act according to our mandate, said Kajari.
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/kfor-we-are-in-regular-contact-with-serbian-armed-forces/

US NATO troops deployed at check points in Kosovo following collapse of talks

August 19, 2022
American NATO troops were deployed at main roads in the northern part of Kosovo Friday as tensions increased following the collapse of political talks in Brussels, Associated Press reported.
Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, announced after the meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti in Brussels that “unhappily, we did not reach an agreement, but it is not the end of the story.”
US Ambassador to Serbia Christopher Hill said on Friday that the outcome of the meetings between officials from Belgrade and Pristina is positive despite the fact that no progress has been achieved.
The head of the Serbian government’s Office for Kosovo Petar Petkovic said that President Vucic will address the nation on the issue of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue at 1.30 pm Sunday.
“Vucic has postponed his address because he cannot reconcile himself with the fact that we have conflicts in Kosovo, that we have no solution and are working day and night to find solutions,” Petar Petkovic told a media conference in the Serbian Government.
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/us-nato-troops-deployed-at-check-points-in-kosovo-following-collapse-of-talks/

July 13, 2022 The United States will provide 23 million US dollars for the development of helicopter capacities of Bosnia’s Armed Forces, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian affairs, Laura Cooper, said on Wednesda

July 13, 2022
The United States will provide 23 million US dollars for the development of helicopter capacities of Bosnia’s Armed Forces, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian affairs, Laura Cooper, said on Wednesday.
Cooper confirmed this to journalists after her meeting with Bosnia’s Defence Minister, Sifet Podzic. The two discussed the security situation in BiH.
Cooper welcomed the recent adoption of the 2022 budget in BiH, arguing that “one of the challenges to developing the capabilities needed in the Armed Forces has been a lack of a budget.”
“The Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina must have sufficient resources to modernize, train and maintain its forces and to take care of its people,” she stressed.
“I also had the opportunity today to discuss an additional 23 million dollars in US assistance funding we will use to continue support to BiH for its rotary wing or helicopter capability. We look forward to continuing cooperation on this and so many other areas of cooperation, from building the light infantry battalion group to cybersecurity,” Cooper added.
Podzic said the US has again shown that it is committed to BiH’s integrity and strengthening the country’s Armed Forces.
“We had the opportunity to discuss what we have done so far and what we can improve, especially in light of the security threats after Russia's aggression against Ukraine,” he said.
Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/us-to-provide-23-million-for-bih-armed-forces-helicopter-capacities/

BiH Defence Minister-NATO prepared response in case Russia vetoes EUFOR

June 30, 2022
Bosnia’s Defence Minister Sifet Podzic said from Madrid, Spain, that NATO decided to significantly help BiH, and that the country is considered part of a single European security structure. Podzic is the only defence minister from Membership Action Plan (MAP) member states to attend the NATO summit in Madrid. He pointed out that there was some concern in NATO about the EUFOR mission and its mandate and the potential veto, but that NATO had made it clear that they were ready to take a role in BiH if that happened.
“Last night I was very proud and I am glad that the allies are united in supporting and helping Bosnia and Herzegovina. The topic of the dinner was the Western Balkans and NATO, but it turned into BiH and NATO because I was the only non-NATO Defence Minister present,” Podzic said.
Regarding a possible Russian veto in the Security Council concerning the European peacekeeping force (EUFOR) mission in BiH, Podzic stated that the allies have a plan for a strong response.
“The allies are preparing a strong response to this possibility, and that is their obligation under the Dayton Peace Agreement, according to Annexes 1a and 1b, because they are in charge of implementing peace in the Balkans,” Podzic explained.
Podzic explained that Bosnia has already started implementing measures from the new NATO package to help the country.
“NATO decided at an extraordinary summit last month to allocate this aid and equipment package. This was confirmed here yester
ay and it is the most important thing for us. We are practically placed in the full architecture of future European security as if we were NATO member state. This will enable BiH to quickly conduct defence reviews, and modernize the armed forces, but it will also help due to the problems that BiH has with the budget,” Podzic said.
The Minister also said that any objections coming from the Republika Srpska (RS) entity will not prevent the implementation of this plan, as there are already documents that have traced BiH's path towards the Alliance.
Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/bih-defence-minister-nato-prepared-response-in-case-russia-vetoes-eufor/

RTS and Radio Belgrade receive bomb threats

June 24, 2022
Serbian state TV (RTS) received Friday an email with a bomb threat, which said that bombs have been planted in all RTS buildings, reported the RTS.
All locations were searched by Interior Ministry bomb squads, said the RTS on its website.
The agency FoNet was told in the Interior Ministry that Radio Belgrade also received a bomb threat but that it was a hoax.
For over a month now bomb threats are being sent to schools, court buildings, railway stations, media outlets and other institutions and locations in Belgrade and all over Serbia.
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/rts-and-radio-belgrade-receive-bomb-threats/

Shooting near migrant reception center in Sombor

June 23, 2022

A shooting took place in the early afternoon hours on Thursday in Sombor near a reception center for migrants and one person was injured, the Sombor police department confirmed for N1.

The police told N1 that migrants got into a physical fight, following which firearms were used.

N1 was given footage showing a group of several dozen migrants in the vicinity of the reception center in the settlement of Sikara, on the outskirts of Sombor. Four shots from firearms can be heard in the footage.

According to unofficial information, this was a showdown between migrant groups that escalated on Wednesday evening in the settlement of Sikara.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/shooting-near-migrant-reception-center-in-sombor/

Serbian police to get Super Puma helicopters

June 21, 2022

Internal Affairs Minister Aleksandar Vulin said on Tuesday that Serbia will get three Super Puma firefighting helicopters very soon.

A ministry press release said that Vulin was in Marseille to visit members of Serbian police helicopter unit training to fly Super Pumas. It quoted him as saying that the Serbian police has “the most powerful helicopter fleet in the Balkans”.

According to Vulin, the new helicopters will be used to fight fires and “in defense of the country if needed”.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-police-to-get-super-puma-helicopters/

Russia's DefMin claims 51 mercenaries from BiH were killed in Ukraine

June 18, 2022

Russia's Defence Ministry claims that 51 "mercenaries" from Bosnia and Herzegovina were killed in Ukraine, Index reported.

The Ministry published data which, as is said, contains the number of “foreign mercenaries” who came to fight in Ukraine against the Russian invasion, the number of those eliminated, the number of those who left Ukraine and the remaining, Index.hr reported.

The Ministry claims that not only mercenaries are involved in combat operations, but also those who came to train Ukrainian soldiers and help repair Western weapons sent to the country.

According to the Ministry, 167 BiH nationals had arrived in Ukraine since February 24, 51 of them were killed, 46 left the country, and 70 are allegedly still in Ukraine. This data also says that 74 Croatians, 61 Kosovo nationals, 21 Macedonians and one Montenegrin were killed.

Russian officials have previously said that people from BiH have left for Ukraine to fight against the Russians. Bosnia’s Foreign Ministry, however, denied this claim.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/index-russias-defmin-claims-51-mercenaries-from-bih-were-killed-in-ukraine/

Serbian military sends new contingent to UNIFIL

June 17, 2022

The Serbian military sent off another contingent to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) at a ceremony at a barracks in Nis.

A Defense Ministry press release said that the infantry company with staff officers and a national support element will deploy for six month to UNIFIL Sector East.

It quoted Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Col. General Petar Cvetkovic as saying that he is confident that the contingent will perform its duties successfully, representing the country in the best possible way.

The Serbian military first deployed troops to UNIFIL in 2010. The first contingent consisted of five staff officers and the numbers increased over time. Besides the contingent in Sector East, a Serbian force protection platoon is engaged in Sector West, as part of the Italian contingent.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-military-sends-new-contingent-to-unifil/

One man shot, two Serbs stabbed in Kosovo

June 13, 2022
One person was wounded by gunfire in a Kosovo border town on Sunday night, media reports said.
The Kosovo police confirmed that one person was shot in the town of Podujevo which lies close to the administrative boundary with Serbia.
Police spokesman Agron Borovci said that the shooting was reported to the police at 8:00 pm. “The police went to the scene and we know that one person was wounded by gunfire,” he said, the KoSSev and Kallxa portals reported. The media said the wounded man, who was not identified, was taken to hospital in Pristina. Podujevo has a majority-Albanian population.
In a separate incident, two young Kosovo Serbs were stabbed and seriously wounded in a bar brawl on Sunday nightin the village of Straze outside the town of Gnjilane in southeastern Kosovo. Kosovo police regional spokesman Ismet Hashani confirmed the incident but said that no arrests had been made.
Local villagers said the two Serbs were attacked by an Albanian and doctors at the Gnjilane hospital said they were both stabbed in the chest. Local media said that this was not the first incident in the bar whose patrons include both Serbs and Albanians.
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/man-wounded-in-shooting-in-kosovo/

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