"In an interview for Estonia's public broadcaster ERR, the director of the Croatian Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA), Daniel Markic, talked about security and political processes in Croatia's southeastern neighborhood," Croatian state news agency said on Thursday, citing a press release published by SOA on their website.
Markic had reportedly visited Estonia to “deepen cooperation with the Estonian security services.” In the interview, Markic talked about security and intelligence work “in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine” and about the current security and “political processes in Croatia’s southeastern neighborhood,” which are “affecting Croatian and European security,” Hina cited the unsigned press release as saying.
In the interview, Markic pointed out that in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the “red hotlines” in communication between Serbia and Croatia have disappeared, adding that Croatia is “concerned about Serbia’s increasingly aggressive behaviour.”
“Russia has a strong foothold in Serbia and is developing a special relationship with Republika Srpska (the Serb entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina), but what is happening in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not all due to the situation with Russia. There is a possible danger there and we are all on alert. At the moment though there is no clear threat because Russia is busy with Ukraine.”
Markic told ERR that Croatia has noticed “an incredible similarity there with the aggression against Croatia in 1991”
“That’s why we are constantly on guard. Now, even if the idea of Greater Serbia has subsided, we now have this idea of the Serbian World, which is similar to the idea of the Russian World. The Serbian government is describing the Croatian government as Ustasha on their official website, and high-ranking politicians in Serbia openly say that they need to think about de-nazification of the region.”
The Ustasha were Nazi-allied Croatian fascists who controlled the territory including most of present-day Croatia and Bosnia in World War II, and who persecuted and brutalized ethnic Serbs.
“Croatia does not want tensions with Serbia,” he said, recalling that Croatia is still looking for information on the missing and those killed in the 1990s war in prison camps in Serbia, and for the ethnic Croat minority in that country “to have a normal status.” He also said that Croatia advocated a united Bosnia and Herzegovina.
He was also asked to comment on Vjekoslav Prebeg, a Croatian national who joined Ukrainian armed groups and was later captured by Russian-backed forces in the siege of Mariupol. Prebeg is now awaiting trial and is facing a potentially draconian sentence in separatist-controlled court.
Markic said that the situation with Prebeg is “difficult” and that Croatia has made some contacts in the way of securing his release.
“There were rumors in Russia that hundreds of Croatians were fighting in Ukraine, but that is not true. There was information that dozens of Croatians were killed in Ukraine, which is also not true. We hope that he will be released at some point. We will work with all partners so that we achieve a positive result,” Markic said.