Russia responded to the EU granting candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina last week.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova criticized the decision, saying that the West is trying to impose its own policies on the countries of the Western Balkans. “In the context of the current situation in the world and the expansionist line of the West, it is clear that this decision is mainly due to the task of complete geopolitical conquest of the region,” the spokeswoman said, adding that the European Union used the accession negotiations to “automatically” impose foreign policy and EU sanctions decisions on the Balkan countries.
“We intend to continue working to save an independent, sovereign Bosnia and Herzegovina from the outdated system of external protection,” he said.
On the other hand, EU officials stated that the decision to grant candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina stems from concern that the instability created by the war in Ukraine will spread to the Western Balkans region.
The European Union Commission considers it a matter of particular concern that the Serbian entity, which is part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, supports Russia in its occupation of Ukraine.
Russia has warned that it will see any steps taken by the Bosnians to join NATO as a “hostile step”, but has not yet criticized its efforts to join the European Union.
At the summit of EU leaders held on December 15, it was agreed that candidate status would be granted to Bosnia and Herzegovina. This decision will be the first step in a long accession process for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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