New border conflicts in the Balkans could foil NATO strategy

Opposition demonstrates in Kosovo against a border demarcation agreement
Pristina, Sept.1, 2016: A rally in front of Kosovo’s national assembly against ratification of a border deal with Montenegro (source: dpa)
  • Montenegro is a missing link in NATO’s strategy for shoring up Europe’s Adriatic Sea flank
  • The country is eager to join NATO, but its outstanding border dispute with Kosovo constitutes a major roadblock
  • Russia spares no effort to block the alliance’s further expansion in the Western Balkans

Border disputes in the Western Balkans are stirring again. The newest one has flared up between Kosovo and Montenegro – two small nations that emerged from the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. Both are West-leaning, but their inability to handle a border demarcation issue threatens to derail NATO’s larger strategy for containing Russia’s influence in the region.

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