President of Russia Vladimir Putin: I am happy to see you. Good evening.
We have had very good relations since you became head of Republika Srpska and in your current position.
Thank you for coming to the St Petersburg Forum. I hope it was useful and interesting for you.
Regrettably, in the current environment, relations between our two countries have been complicated due to Bosnia and Herzegovina's support of the anti-Russia sanctions, but we are aware of your position and highly appreciate it. Despite the challenges, our relations will continue and will develop, especially with those who want to maintain them. As far as I know, you are among them.
We are happy to se you. Welcome.
Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik (retranslated): Thank you, Mr President, for your words of encouragement. I want to thank you for everything you are doing for us.
Today was a hard day. In general, we are going through hard times, difficult conditions, as you mentioned repeatedly in your speech we heard today. We are trying to maintain our policy without outside influence; we did not want to join the sanctions and are grateful to you for your understanding on this matter.
Thank you for making it possible to retain gas prices under the earlier conditions until next year. We think that Russian fuel has no alternatives and we want to continue with investments.
I spoke to Mr Miller today, and we are moving along this path, with the construction of a gas pipeline branch. Some procedurals have to be completed connected with the treaty between Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina for the branch to be constructed.
Russian businesses continue operating in the Republika Srpska; Zarubezhneft has retained jobs and its business. We continue working on developing our cooperation in medicine, and many Russian specialists, in particular from St Petersburg, come to Banja Luka. Universities and faculties maintain interaction, and everything is moving on quite well, of course.
Therefore, we are closely following the situation around Ukraine and understand the context. We believe that the West is just trying to interfere everywhere. We have been living like that for over twenty years, so the situation remains the same with us.
I would like to tell you – and I told you this last time, that they have made a further step and appointed a German, without the Security Council’s endorsement, who calls himself a high representative and imposes some kind of laws on us. He is causing additional destabilisation, which cannot be accepted. We refuse to recognise such a situation, and we cannot do otherwise. On the other hand, a European military mission called ALTHEA, which is annually extended through the Security Council, is located in Bosnia and Herzegovina.