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Head of Serbia’s Intelligence Agency Quits, Blaming US-EU ‘Blackmail’

Aleksandar Vulin said he was resigning as head of the BIA, claiming the EU and US are ‘asking for my head as a precondition for not imposing sanctions on Serbia’.

Aleksandar Vulin, the US-sanctioned head of Serbia’s Security Information Agency, BIA, has resigned, blaming EU and US pressure.

In the statement published on BIA website on Friday Vulin claimed that the United States and the European Union “are asking for my head as a precondition for not imposing sanctions on Serbia”.

“I am not the cause of blackmail and pressure on Serbia and the Serbian world, but I will not allow myself to be the reason for blackmail and pressure on Serbia and the Serbian world. That is why I submit my irrevocable resignation from the post of BIA director,” Vulin said.

“The sanctions imposed on me are proof of my persistent struggle for the unity of the Serbs, but the imposition of sanctions on Serbia, for which my further management of the BIA would be used, would be proof of my selfishness,” he added.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in mid-September dismissed media reports about Vulin’s impending dismissal, saying that as a result of such reports he had “extended the mandate”.

“Maybe I planned to dismiss him, but now I can’t dismiss him,” Vucic told Pink Television.

In mid-July the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Vulin, accusing him of involvement in various corrupt activities. Its Office of Foreign Assets Control, OFAC, claimed the pro-Russian politician has been implicated in transnational organised crime, illegal narcotics operations and misuse of public office.

“Vulin has maintained a mutually beneficial relationship with the US-designated Serbian arms dealer Slobodan Tesic, helping ensure that Tesic’s illegal arms shipments can move freely across Serbia’s borders,” it alleged in a statement.

“Vulin’s acts have advanced corruption within Serbia’s governing institutions,” the statement added, accusing him of leveraging his authority for personal gain and involvement in a drug-trafficking ring.

“He has used his public positions to support Russia, facilitating Russia’s malign activities that degrade the security and stability of the Western Balkans and providing Russia a platform to further its influence in the region,” it went on.

The sanctions mean that any assets Vulin has under US jurisdiction were frozen and US businesses and institutions were prohibited from financial dealings with him.

Vulin was appointed director of the BIA in 2022 and previously served as Serbian defence minister and interior minister.

He is the first Serbian official to be sanctioned while in power since Slobodan Milosevic’s rule in the 1990s.

Vulin started his political career in the League of Communists – Movement for Yugoslavia, a party formed in 1990 from the old League of Communists of Yugoslavia, the only permitted party in communist Yugoslavia.

In 1994, he was one of the founders of the Yugoslav Left, JUL, which was led by Milosevic’s wife, Mirjana Markovic. JUL worked closely with Milosevic’s Socialists, and in 1996 the party joined Milosevic’s coalition government. Vulin quit JUL in 1998.

Source : Balkan Insight