U.S. B-1B Bombers Fly Over Bosnia Amid Escalating Tensions and Secessionist Rhetoric

On Tuesday, two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers performed a low flight over Sarajevo and several other cities in Bosnia-Herzegovina. This move was interpreted as a symbol of solidarity amidst the continuing secessionist threats from Milorad Dodik, the pro-Russian leader of the Bosnian Serbs.

The bombers also took part in a combined military operation in Tuzla, a north-eastern town in Bosnia, in collaboration with the country’s multi-ethnic army and U.S. Army Special Forces.

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US bombers fly over Bosnia in sign of support

The U.S. ambassador to Bosnia, Michael Murphy, stated that these flights symbolized an unwavering dedication to Bosnia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Murphy emphasized the United States’ unwavering commitment to its relationship with the Bosnian military amidst domestic political instability and significant external threats.

Dodik, serving as the president of Republika Srpska, the Serb-majority part of Bosnia, has consistently endorsed the country’s dissolution and openly admires Russian President Vladimir Putin. Recently, he visited Moscow to meet with Putin and reconfirm his support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Dodik expressed severe disapproval for the U.S. bombers’ flight over Bosnia, accusing the U.S. of disregarding the country’s territorial integrity and manipulating it like a test subject at their disposal.

In 1995, a U.S.-facilitated peace agreement concluded the near four-year Bosnian conflict, which claimed at least 100,000 lives and displaced millions. The Dayton Peace Accords led to Bosnia’s division into two largely independent entities, Republika Srpska and another territory primarily inhabited by Bosniaks and Croats, each connected by nationwide shared institutions.

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Russia has been capitalizing on these divisions by endorsing Dodik’s separatist agendas, leading to Western concerns that the Kremlin might use him to incite further disruption in the already unstable Balkan country, thereby diverting some focus from its war in Ukraine.

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