BANJA LUKA / Bosnia and Herzegovina/, November 21. /TASS/. Russia remains the last international player in the Balkans who keeps adhering to and defending the international law in the region, Serb member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik told TASS in an interview on Thursday.
"Russia is the only international player in our region who adheres to the international law and remains impartial," the leader of Bosnian Serbs said. "It is commonly believed that Russia favors Serbia, but Russia also suggested projects to the Croatians and the Bosniaks, but they refused, as they did not dare to agree to such cooperation because of the Western stance," Dodik added.
"Today, Russia is the only guardian of the international law on the Balkans, and this is reassuring for us, because it means that not everything is controlled by Western key players, who will twist all legal norms as they see fit," the politician continued. "We saw how the decision on the bombing of Serbia and Republika Srpska [part of Bosnia and Herzegovina] was made in the absence of a UN Security Council resolution. This is very dangerous. That is why high hopes are pinned on Russia, as it defends the international law."
Speaking about energy cooperation with Russia, the official said that the construction of a TurkStream pipeline branch makes Republika Srpska "more energy-confident."
"It is very important that the matter with Bulgaria has been solved, the construction via Bulgaria to Serbia opens certain opportunities for us here. We have certain accords signed with Gazprom, and we were waiting for Bulgaria's signing. Regrettably, Bulgaria has already rejected South Stream once, stalling the project for 10-15 years. But the construction of a pipeline to transport Russian gas, which is cheaper and guarantees our energy security, cannot be stopped," Dodik claimed.
"This also guarantees that the ‘gas card’ will not be played to attain political goals, as could be the case if we received our gas from the north, from Western nations who would have had the opportunity to cut Russian gas supplies to the Balkans if there is something they don’t like," he noted, thanking the Russain government and Gazprom chief Alexei Miller for their commitment to the project.
Earlier, the authorities of Republika Srpska (one of the two entities that form Bosnia and Herzegovina) agreed with Gazprom to receive Russian natural gas through a special line of the TurkStream pipeline with the construction set to begin next year.
Then Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik and President of Republika Srpska Zeljka Cvijanovic had a meeting with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller when the agreement was reached to supply gas to this political entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was supposed that the project would begin this fall through building an offshoot of TurkStream to Republika Srpska.
Moreover, the meeting discussed building a gas infrastructure of Banja Luka, the capital, and construction of a gas-fired power plant. Earlier, Dodik said that Republika Srpska wants to build the pipeline between Bijeljina and Banja Luka.
When asked about the upcoming celebrations of the 75th anniversary of victory over the Nazi Germany in Moscow, Dodik confirmed that he would attend the festivities on Moscow’s Red Square.
"Yes, I will be there, and it will be a great pleasure for me. I will surely come, why not? I visited it before, three or four years ago," he said.
Dodik pointed out that he would visit Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg in the coming days and meet with top city officials.
"I always feel great in Russia, be it Mosscow, St. Petersburg or any other Russian city," he added.