Bosnian arms exporter accuses ministers over Ukraine deal

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — A Bosnian arms exporter on Friday made a criminal complaint against the country's current and former ministers of trade for blocking a 5 million-euro deal with Ukraine because of objections from Russia.

The manager of UNIS-Group, Suvad Osmanagic, said that politicians have harmed the entire industry, which will cause financial losses and layoffs. He said he made a complaint of abuse of office because the decision to block the export was against the law.

UNIS-Group was to have exported 300 tons of ammunition to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry.

The Ministry of Trade and Economic Relations issued a statement saying that "regarding the current foreign political events," it decided to seek the opinion of Bosnia's Presidency before it clears the export to Ukraine.

Russia on Thursday warned Bosnia not to deliver arms to Ukraine, but Osmanagic insisted the deal is legal, Ukraine is on no international list of countries to which arms exportation is banned and all other Bosnian institutions required to clear the deal have done so. He accused the ministers of succumbing to Russian pressure.

Bosnia's three-member Presidency is made up of officials from all three main groups living in the country — the Bosniaks, the Croats and the Serbs. Any decision requires approval by all three, which is unlikely since Bosnian Serb member Mladen Ivanic has already said he would not support the export.

"As long as there is no strong international support for it, I object to weapons deliveries to countries involved in conflicts," Ivanic said.