Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) of the NATO Allied Command Operations, General Curtis M. Scaparrotti, stated in a testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services that Russia is exerting its influence in the Balkans to prevent individual nations from progressing on a Euro-Atlantic path.
“Russia’s strategy of malign influence also includes prolonging unresolved conflicts across Europe and Eurasia”, said Scaparrotti. “In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russia uses relationships with the leadership of Republika Srpska to undermine the state institutions established by the Dayton Accords”, he explained.
General Scaparrotti, who testified as the Commander of the United States European Command (USEUCOM), also said that “in the Balkans, our command directly supports U.S. efforts to promote regional stability”.
“In Bosnia and Herzegovina, our security cooperation activities focus on assisting the Bosnian Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces meet NATO standards and interoperability goals, while supporting their aspirations to join the Alliance. EUCOM works closely with interagency partners such as the Departments of Justice, Treasury, Energy, and State to facilitate and enhance support for democratic institutions and processes in the Balkans and to counter malign influence. Balkan nations view the United States as a major supporter of their efforts to develop institutions and processes that promote the rule of law and strengthen governmental systems”, said General Scaparrotti.
“We must assist our NATO Allies in the region as they seek to increase their resiliency in the face of Russian malign influence. We must also support our non-NATO partners as they pursue a brighter future as part of the Euro-Atlantic family of nations”, he concluded.