Bosnia’s arms trade: Exports surge amidst Ukraine war

Bosnia’s arms exports have nearly doubled in the first four months of 2024 compared to the same period last year, according to official data released Monday. 

The United States is reportedly a major destination for these exports, which totaled 133 million convertible marks ($74 million).

The national statistics agency did not specify the types of weapons and ammunition involved. 

However, Bosnian Defense Minister Zukan Helez recently praised the “expansion of the weapons industry” and mentioned production of “rockets and shells” exported globally. 

Local media reports suggest a rise in ammunition exports to the US, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and neighboring Serbia.

This significant increase coincides with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. 

While Bosnia has no official sales contract with Ukraine, some local media outlets claim the exported ammunition finds its way to the Ukrainian front.

Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, a known ally of Russia, maintains his entity prevents “direct exports” to Ukraine.

This development comes amidst heightened global tensions and Ukraine’s urgent call for military support. 

In February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky requested the swift delivery of arms and ammunition, expressing a desire to establish a “Ukrainian-Balkan forum on the defense industry.”

Bosnia’s well-established arms industry, founded during the communist era as part of Yugoslavia, supplied half the former federation’s military capabilities. 

This history positions Bosnia as a potential player in the current global arms market.

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