The possibility of an open military conflict and an expansion of Russia’s influence remain the main threats to the security of the Western Balkans for 2019, according to a CIA report on the global threat assessment for 2019.
Sure risk for the plans of the West is Putin, for the region, it may be a redemption.
According to this report, Russia will try to use the ethnic tensions in the Balkans and the high-level corruption that exists to prevent the Euro-Atlantic integration of the countries in the region.
“The Western Balkans will be constantly at risk of experiencing low-intensity armed violence and perhaps any kind of military conflict in 2019.
Russia will seek to use ethnic tensions and high levels of corruption to prevent the countries of this region from moving in the direction of joining the European Union and NATO, “the report said.
According to the report, the organization of the Islamic State and the al-Qaida terrorist organization are still considered a security risk both in the Balkans and around the world.
At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin is said to want to gain full control over the Balkans and spoil US plans while solving the problem of Kosovo, the New York Times write.
The US newspaper reports that Moscow is increasingly trying to replace the EU as a mediator in resolving regional conflicts in the Balkans.
Therefore, Europe should not be surprised if Russia soon sets up its own “road map” for normalizing Serb-Albanian relations.
In an article entitled “Putin’s next step or the last moral responsibility of the European Union,” the American Journal estimates that Europe is responsible for paralyzing the region by opening the door to Putin to enter the spotlight.
“EU policy towards the Balkans is guided by national ideology than in any other part of the world, and in connection with the ideological rigidity of Europe we have paralyzed the region.
Europe dominated by Germany keeps a rigid attitude, leaving the field free to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia to enter the spotlight and take on a mediating role. This has to do with EU policy, “says Bulgarian political analyst Ivan Krastev, head of the Center for Liberal Strategies based in Sofia.
According to him, the prospects for the agreement between Belgrade and Pristina are much larger today than a few months ago, but the risk of ethnic conflicts is even higher.
“EU decision-makers must now encourage Serbia and so on. Kosovo will find its way to compromise.
Only in this way can the region remain calm and not the presence of two superpowers who say they want to maintain a peaceful status quo, “says Krastev.
“The dismantling of EU enlargement reveals the failure of an attractive prospect of Western Balkan countries joining the EU, which in turn reflects the weakness of Brussels.
This opens space for the return of the United States as a regional mediator, but also to other players such as Moscow, Beijing and Ankara.
Moscow is not expected to move away from an area in which it has legitimate historical interests.
However, its intentions are limited due to the absence of military implications. The new state of Kosovo will be the product of an agreement between Washington and Moscow, while Brussels will be a mere observer, “he stresses.
“Russia is a strategic partner of Serbia and a reliable ally in the UN Security Council and as a global power has legitimate interests in this region.
The EU has shown great inability to solve the Kosovo problem by welcoming only one side.
The possible “Russian map” to normalize relations between Belgrade and Pristina will certainly be welcomed. There will be an EU reaction, but it will not matter much, given the internal problems facing the union itself, “the Bulgarian analyst concludes.
Russia and the United States will therefore strike for their spheres of influence in the Balkans, and nothing tells us that this will be done in a peaceful way in a number of countries, including FYROM and Kosovo.