Russia to participate in EU police mission in Bosnia

Servicemen of the Russian Interior Ministry will participate in the EU police mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The decision has already been taken and five servicemen will soon leave for Bosnia, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Razov said in a newspaper interview on Thursday. Over 100 Russians are now working in the international police mission in Kosovo, he said.

When speaking on the reasons for the recent withdrawal of the Russian peacekeepers from the Balkans, the deputy minister pointed out that the settlement in Kosovo and Bosnia had passed from the military stage to another one that did not "require presence of our armed forces". The withdrawal of Russian troops took place "in full mutual understanding with NATO, the UN and other international organizations" and did not lead to any conflicts, the diplomat said.

This year the international troops in Kosovo reduced from 39,000 to 29,000 people and in Bosnia from 15,000 to 12,000 people, Razov recalled. "We do not look worse against this background," he pointed out. The Russian military presence in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina cost the country's budget several dozens of million dollars annually. "With the most serious problems with the reform of our own army, we can find use for this money in Russia," the deputy minister emphasized.

At present the main problems in the Balkans are drug trafficking, organized crime and extremist organizations, he believes. "Their solution is the task of law-enforcement bodies, police missions," Razov pointed out.

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