Sergei Lavrov to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina, discuss bilateral ties

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is set to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina today as part of a three-day Balkans trip.

lavrov

Photo: RFE/RL

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is set to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina today as part of a three-day Balkans trip.

Russia has long exerted considerable economic influence over the Balkans. However, it is confronting recent opposition to its regional economic ambitions from traditional rivals like the US and EU as well as increasingly ambitious attempts by China to become a new centre of gravity. Through its Belt and Road Initiative and development organisations like the China Road and Bridge Corporation, Beijing is increasing its investment influence in the region. For example, China is now the largest foreign investor in Montenegro, with about $83 million in FDI reported for the first half of this year alone, according to a report recently published by Montenegro’s central bank.

Expect Moscow to shift its efforts from combatting US and European economic influence in the Balkans to challenging Chinese strides in FDI. Expect Russian diplomats to stress the historical political and cultural ties between Russia and the region as part of its strategy, in addition to making promises to ramp up its own investment commitments to the region.

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