Separatist leader sworn in as president of Bosnian Serbs
BANJA LUKA, Bosnia and Herzegovina — Separatist politician Milorad Dodik was sworn in as president of the Bosnian Serb side on Tuesday, pledging to continue good relations with Russia, China and other like-minded countries .
Dodik said at the inauguration on Tuesday that the Bosnian Serbs “have our Serbia, our Russia and our (other) partners in Hungary, China.”
On the other hand, Dodik singled out the UK and Germany as countries working against the Bosnian Serbs and their interests.
Dodik was elected president of the Bosnian Serb-led party, Republika Srpska, in general elections held in October.
Prior to the elections, he served as a member of Bosnia’s multi-ethnic presidency which also includes a Bosnian and a Croat official.
Dodik has been the most influential Bosnian Serb leader for nearly two decades, despite having been sanctioned by the West for advocating the separation of Republika Srpska from the rest of the country.
Russia has backed Dodik, stoking fears in the West that Moscow could try to create further instability in the volatile Balkan nation to distract from its war in Ukraine.
Separatist ambitions among ethnic Serbs sparked the devastating Bosnian War of 1992-1995, which killed more than 100,000 people, displaced millions and destroyed the country for years to come. A US-brokered peace agreement that ended the war created the Serbian and Bosnian-Croat entities.
They are bound by shared statewide institutions, and all actions at the national level require the consensus of the three ethnic groups.