A Soviet-era plane that crashed in Greece, killing eight crew members, was carrying Serbian arms to Bangladesh in a deal brokered by a Bosnia-based company owned by a Polish weapons firm, BIRN has learned.
Popular Bosnian vocalist Adi Mulahalilovic, who co-wrote Bosnia’s 1994 Eurovision entry, said that as a survivor of the siege of Sarajevo, he felt obliged to join the multinational Europe for Ukraine music project.
A Serbian far-right organisation called the People’s Patrols announced a rally in support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, claiming that Vladimir Putin is fighting against a “Nazi and pro-Western government”.
More than two dozen Serbian women remain trapped in refugee camps in Syria, waiting so far in vain to be repatriated by the Serbian state. Whispered messages via banned mobile phones provide a chilling glimpse of their day-to-day plight.
Despite a European Parliament resolution, a UN call and evidence collected by media and NGOs, Serbia is not probing allegations that Vietnamese workers were exploited at a Chinese-run construction site.
Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are the focus of one of the most important Chinese companies’ desire to expand into the Western Balkans. Through the telecommunications company Huawei, China is extending its influence around the world, which is why it has been sanctioned by some countries. In the Western Balkans, the company wants to be the first to establish 4G and 5G networks and so-called ‘smart’ and ‘secure’ cities, but this is also raising concerns about its lack of transparency and privacy protection for users and the general public. BIRN has researched the company’s goals, the way it is expanding and the consequences of this. We have found out that Huawei paid for trips abroad for ministers.
Serbia beat off competition from around Central and Eastern Europe to host the first Chinese tyre factory in Europe, but evidence obtained by NGOs and BIRN point to ‘systematic exploitation’ – potentially human trafficking – of hundreds of Vietnamese men hired to build it. Serbian authorities say they see nothing wrong.