The US flew two B1-B bombers over Bosnia and Herzegovina on Tuesday in a show of force meant as a warning to Milorad Dodik, the leader of the semi-autonomous Serb republic within Bosnia, known as Republika Srpska.
Dodik has been threatening to declare independence due to a dispute over a property law. US Ambassador to Bosnia Michael Murphy said the bomber flights were a demonstration of a “rock-solid commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
While flying over the country, the B-1B bombers also participated in exercises that involved Bosnia’s military and US special operations forces. Murphy said the US is committed to its relationship with Bosnia’s armed forces in the face of an “acute threat from malign actors outside.”
Dodik, who is pro-Russia, said the US was “disrespecting” Bosnia’s sovereignty by flying bombers over the country. He said the US was treating Bosnia “as a guinea pig that they can suffocate and cut off its air supply for as long as they want.”
The US bomber flight came amid heightened tensions in nearby Kosovo over Pristina taking action against ethnic Serb protesters. The US has blamed Kosovo for the situation, but the bomber flight could also be meant as a show of force to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who put his military on high alert in response to the tensions.