US presses for sanctions against Russia; Serbian Prez Vucic appoints Vulin spy chief

With Kosovo-Serbian tensions reduced to a mere simmer, the US has begun to ramp up pressure on Serbia to sanction Russia—at the same time that the international media highlighted the appointment of a reportedly Russian leaning new spy chief in the form of Aleksandar Vulin.

With regard to the first, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Gabriel Escobar wasted no time in pressing for sanctions against Russia and stating that it is “wrong’ to work closely with Russia, clearly alluding to Serbia’s agreement to streamline cooperation with Russia several months ago.

Escobar also referred to the Community of Serb Municipalities (CSM), an agreement implemented to protect ethnic Serbs in Kosovo while at the same time stating that Kosovo is an independent country—pointing out that it simply has not been recognized as such.

But simultaneous to Escobar’s statements, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic appointed Vulin as the director of the Serbian intelligence agency (BIA). Vulin has in the past served as defense minister and interior minister, but he has been seen as Russian backing.

Moreover, Vulin travelled to Russia as recently as August, and he has labelled sanctions as “anti-Russian hysteria.”
The appointment is unlikely to go down well with the US or the EU, and Western media, ranging from Euronews to the Associated Press highlighted this fact, with the former citing the opposition PSG party as saying that cooperation with Western intelligence agencies will “completely stop.”

Reportedly, Vulin has also made statements indicating that Serbia should drop plans to join the EU, and he has also in the past traded barbs with Croat leaders—and according to Euronews is barred from entering Croatia.


Photo of Vulin with former Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos by Dimitris Avramopoulos, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

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