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A Russian ambassador on Thursday said Bosnia and Herzegovina could face the same military aggression unleashed on Ukraine if the country joins NATO.
Igor Kalbukhov made the remarks during an interview with broadcaster FTV on Thursday. He noted that the country is free to join the 30-member alliance but that Moscow would respond, Euractiv reported.
“If (Bosnia and Herzegovina) decides to be a member of any alliance, that is an internal matter,” he said. “Our response is a different matter. Ukraine’s example shows what we expect. Should there be any threat, we will respond.”
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Kalbukhov then accused the West of stoking division and tensions by claiming Russia is preparing “a plan.”
“We do not have any plans. We will respond having analyzed the strategic and geopolitical situation,” the ambassador said. NATO membership is not a reality for BiH given the current lack of consensus on the matter in the country, he added.
Moscow has vehemently opposed a NATO expansion, particularly with nations it shares borders with. A day after the Kremlin launched its invasion of Ukraine, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova issued a warning to Finland and Sweden.
“Finland and Sweden should not base their security on damaging the security of other countries and their accession to NATO can have detrimental consequences and face some military and political consequences,” she said in a video clip.
Finnish Ambassador to the United States, Mikko Hautala, told Fox News that Russia has always voiced opposition to his nation’s membership in NATO.
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“I think we are really well prepared. We have one of the best armies in Europe. We have a really strong defense. We have really good international partners,” he said. “We are not in a position that we would get scared because of one statement. There’s nothing new. That’s the old Russian position.”