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James Stavridis

Putin Is Pushing Serbia and Bosnia to Back His Ukraine War

The Russian leader is pushing pan-Slavic unity to keep two Balkan states out of the EU and NATO.

Brother or rodent?

Brother or rodent?

Photographer: Andrej Isakovic/AFP/Getty Images

Even as Russian President Vladimir Putin prosecutes his vicious and failing war in Ukraine, he continues to cast his ambitions further afield. Russia is trying to undermine democracies throughout Europe, funneling funds and support to far-right groups and propaganda operations. 

Putin has found particularly fertile ground in the Balkans, pushing his view that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is intent on marginalizing the Russian, Slavic, Eastern Orthodox world. At the center of these efforts is Serbia, the most pivotal former Yugoslav state that isn’t a NATO member.