Dep. Ass. Secretary Yee to Balkans: Watch Out for Russia

In an interview for the Voice of America, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Hoyt Brian Yee told Balkan countries to watch out for Russian interference into domestic politics.

Secretary Yee referred to the recent case in Montenegro, where “as all the data show us, Russia intervened to bring down a democratically elected government.”

Other Balkan countries have to be very careful, they have to pay attention what Russia is doing and we will do the same thing.

The US official, who currently remains the highest ranking official in the State Department regarding the region, declared that the US are engaged to support the Balkans on the road to reforms that will strengthen the state and will bring them closer to the EU.

We are taking measures where we can to strengthen the Western Balkans countries against influences with malicious intent, whether from Russia or other sources, countries, and factors.

This month, Vice President Mike Pence met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and visited Montenegro. These visits, according to Yee, show the US’s engagement with the Balkans.

He also stated that despite the differences, the US is trying to collaborate with the Russians in fields of mutual interest, such as anti-terrorism, but on issues where their interests are opposed, the “US will protect the interests and values of itself and its allies with great determination.