US Ambassador to NATO: Russia is working to destabilize the Western Balkans

Julien Smith said that "classic Russian activity" has been visible in the Western Balkans for years.

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Illustration, Photo: Shutterstock
Illustration, Photo: Shutterstock
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

American ambassador to NATO, Julien Smith, stated today that Russia, in addition to other hybrid tactics, is using disinformation to cause instability in the Western Balkans region.

In an online press conference ahead of the meeting of the foreign ministers of the Alliance, Smit said that for years "classic Russian action" has been visible in the Western Balkans, in which a series of hybrid tactics are used to divide societies from within, change Europe's view of the region and to separate "USA from European allies and friends" from the region, reports KIM.

"We are again seeing the use of cyber-attacks, malicious cyber-attacks, coercion, a whole range of tools that the Russians are using to destabilize the region which, again, the Alliance is trying very hard to resist, to stabilize the region," she stated.

Smith adds that NATO in the Western Balkans operates on multiple tracks and that it is "vigilant" and "remains focused" in that region.

"We are working with NATO members that are in the neighborhood, and there are a lot of them, and then we are also working with Bosnia, a candidate for NATO membership, as well as ongoing reforms and we are thinking and looking for ways to help them modernize their military, for example. And then we also work with other partners in the region through the existing partnership with Serbia, for example," she said.

The ambassador emphasized that all Russian actions in the region are carefully monitored and that she is trying very hard to do the opposite and stabilize the Western Balkans.

"Obviously it is related to the work we do to monitor Russia's behavior in and around the Euro-Atlantic area and close to NATO territory, and I don't think anyone can say that the Alliance is losing focus. On the contrary, they have been very focused on the neighborhood (the Western Balkans region ) and very focused on countering what the Russians are trying to do there," she said.

The heads of diplomacy of the NATO member states will gather in Brussels on April 3 and 4 for a regular ministerial meeting. The meeting, which coincides with the 75th anniversary of the formation of the Alliance, will be the first in which Sweden will participate as a full member.

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