Serbia displayed its military might on Wednesday in celebration of a new national holiday calling for the unification of Serbs in the Western Balkans.
Political leaders of Serbia and Republika Srpska attended a military parade and held rallies in Belgrade, praising the strengthening of the country’s army, and urging Serbs to nourish their national identity and readiness to fight for their country.
Serbia celebrated “The Day of Serb Unity, Freedom and the National Flag” for the first time. The holiday was established last year in Republika Sprska of Bosnia and Herzegovina by its secessionist and genocide-denier leader Milorad Dodik. The day coincides with a Serbian victory in 1918 during World War I.
It comes amidst calls by the Serbian government for all Serbs in the Balkans to unite under one state.
Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic attended rallies in Belgrade alongside Dodik. The president praised the strengthening of the army by “at least five-fold” in the recent years of his rule.
Vucic, who was an information minister under the Milosevic regime in the 90s, when Serbia waged brutal wars on several countries in the region, then went on to assure neighbors in a passive-aggressive manner that Serbia is not a threat to anyone:
“The Serbian flag is threatening someone, and they expect us to apologize? My answer is: Never again. We will carry our flag with pride anywhere in the world,” Vucic stated.
Dodik reiterated that Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) consider Serbia to be their home country, hinting once again to a possible demand to have Republika Srpska separated from BiH and join Serbia.
Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic called on the Serbian youth to nurture a common Serbian identity: “We as a nation will survive if we are united and ready to fight for our own future,” he stressed.
“If it was easy to be a Serb, everyone would be a Serb. But we are a nation that has survived on the historical scene because we fight, and it will be easier for us to fight together, with our common consciousness and identity,” Selaković stated.
The celebration of the Day of Serbian Unity coincides with calls by Minister of Interior Aleksandar Vulin for Serbs in the Western Balkans to unite under one state. About 1.3 million Serbs live in Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, and Montenegro.
Under Vucic, Serbia has strengthened ties with Russia and China, as well as its military capability with supplies from both countries.