By Marko Marjanović
NATO finds itself threatened by a Russian humanitarian center in Serbia
Russia is threatening the US again. What is it doing this time? It has set up a humanitarian center too close to US troops. Specifically the US troops occupying Serbia’s Kosovo.
Speaking to the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, a US State Department official in charge of relations with countries in the Balkans, Hoyt Bryan Yee, lamented:
“I am concerned by this so-called humanitarian center, not so much for what it is now, but what it might become, if it receives what Russia has been asking from Serbia, which is some kind of special status, a protected diplomatic status or other immunity. We don’t believe that Russia has good intentions, from our standpoint, in our contacts, which is, trying to help the Balkans move closer to its goal of integration with Europe. We believe Russia’s trying to prevent that path, progress on that path.”
“The creation of some kind of center in Nis, very close to the border with Kosovo, where we still have over 600 US troops, there’s a large, over 4,000, NATO-led peacekeeping force, would not be a positive development, especially if individuals, or the facility itself, had special immunity,” Yee said.
“It’s important – we’ve shared this with the government of Serbia – that Serbia be in full control of its territory and facilities on its territory. If it allows Russia to create some kind of special center for espionage or other nefarious activities, it will lose control over a part of its territory,” said the US State Department officials.
Please take a deep breath and appreciate the full deliciousness of what Yee is saying here.
First of all, the US claims Serbia should be in full control of its own territory.
This would be the same US which plotted, encouraged and facilitated the quasi-independence of Serbia’s US/Albanian-controlled Kosovo? The same US which is still occupying Kosovo precisely to guarantee that Serbia may not restore control over al of its territory?
If the US is so concerned that Serbia should be in control of its territory it can start implementing UNSC Resolution 1244 and allow the return of Serbian police to its Kosovo province. As for facilities on its territory that Serbia should be in control of, how about “Camp Bondsteel”, one of the largest US bases in Europe?
Next, the Russian humanitarian center in Niš is a worrying development because it is too close to US soldiers?
Oh, no. How can 4,000 NATO troops possibly deal with a Russian humanitarian center in their back yard? Setting up a humanitarian center 80 kilometers from NATO troops occupying a foreign country—clearly Russian aggression has no bounds.
For context, understand that the US has been pressuring Belgrade to have the Russian aid center closed ever since it was set up in 2012. So instead of Serbia demanding that US occupying troops leave its territory, you have the US demanding that Russian aid workers leave Serbia.
The Russians invested in the aid center to try and win hearts and minds in the Balkans. It has been a staging point from which they have helped in a number of floods and forest fires which struck Serbia and nearby countries.
Given the increased US attempts to have it closed, however, the Russians have become spooked that some of Serbia’s many pro-western activists and politicians might frame their personnel as criminals or spies, and have recently asked to be given diplomatic status and corresponding immunity.
Russians in Nis
Americans in Kosovo