Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency, has labeled the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a “criminal organisation,” speaking at a ceremony marking the Victory Day which was among others attended by the Night Wolves, a controversial Russian motorcycle club endorsed by Vladimir Putin.
“The Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a criminal organisation, which organised war camp and whose commanders were held accountable for war crimes. They had ‘El Mujahedeen’ unit within their ranks, which committed atrocities that the world learned about only after it started to be committed against them in Syria and elsewhere,” said the pro-Russian Bosnian Serb leader.
Referring to the Bosniaks, one of three major ethnic groups and constituent peoples in the country, Dodik said “only the rare Muslims of that time” were a part of the people's liberation army, saying it is “revisionism” trying to link this ethnic group with the achievements of the national liberation war.
Dodik was speaking at a ceremony in the northern city of Banja Luka, administrative centre of Bosnia's Serb-majority region Republika Srpska, one of the events organised on the occasion of the Victory Day.
This year again, Banja Luka marked the Victory Day with the Immortal Regiment march, which was among others attended by the Republika Srpska officials, the Russian ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Igor Kalabukhov and the Night Wolves group, who were blacklisted by the US in 2014 due to their involvement in activities which endanger piece, security, stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine during the Russian occupation of Crimea.
Attendees were seen carrying the banners that read ‘Against Nazism in Ukraine and the world’ and one with what appeared to be Russian and Republika Srpska's flags tied together with message ‘Let's not betray the side, it is about the freedom.’
Speaking to the Republika Srpska public broadcaster RTRS, Kalabukhov commented on the war in Ukraine which his country insist calling a “special military operation,” stressing that Russia's soldiers are fighting there “against a new hotbed of fascism in Europe.”
The Immortal Regiment manifestation was first held in Russia in 2014, and Banja Luka has marked it in 2017 for the first time.