Bosnian Serb leader Dodik says Ukraine war has delayed secession plan

Serbia's President Vucic donates COVID-19 vaccines to Bosnia's members of tripartite presidency Dodik, Dzaferovic and Komsic, in Sarajevo
Bosnia's member of tripartite presidency Milorad Dodik attends a news conference at Sarajevo International Airport in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, March 2, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia, June 6 (Reuters) - The war in Ukraine and its knock-on effects have forced Bosnian Serb nationalists to delay plans to pull their region out of Bosnia's national institutions, their leader Milorad Dodik said on Monday.

In December, the parliament of Bosnia's autonomous Serb Republic voted to start work on severing ties with Bosnia's armed forces, judiciary and tax system, in a non-binding motion meant to pave the way for secession. read more

Dodik - the driving force behind a plan that sparked Bosnia's worst political crisis since the end of its 1990s war and triggered sanctions against him from London and Washington and warnings from the EU - had said it would be implemented by a deadline that expires this week. read more

But changed political conditions caused by the war in Ukraine had caused a delay, Dodik - whose plan is supported by Moscow - said.

The secessionist plan was not scrapped, just delayed, Dodik said during the parliament session he called to rally support against Bosnia imposing sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a "special military operation".

"That is why we halted the realisation of our conclusions relating to the withdrawal (of Bosnian Serbs from)... state authorities," Dodik said.

Dodik said the Bosnian Serb Republic wanted to "maintain neutrality" when it came to Russia and Ukraine and was against sanctions against Russia, echoing the stance of its sponsor Serbia, the only European country that has refused to impose sanctions.

Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic in Sarajevo; Editing by

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