WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

CORONAVIRUS – BiH: NATO and the U.S. military have delivered medical supplies to the Bosnian Ministry of Security. Not to be outdone, the Embassy of China announced a donation of 10,000 protective masks to the Ministry of Security. The Brooklyn Nets’ Dzanan Musa has sent medical supplies to BiH with the contributions from the National Basketball Association Player’s Association. A steel mill in Bosnia quarantined nearly 300 workers as a potential COVID-19 outbreak threatens the mill. By the numbers: 1,083 confirmed cases, 40 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – CROATIA: The Association of American Croatian Professionals and One Equity Partners have donated $160,000 to fight COVID-19 in Croatian hospitals.The American Corner in Rijeka, Croatia, is producing protective medical visors for medical staff from its 3D printer. By the numbers: 1,704 confirmed cases, 31 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – KOSOVO: Serbia’s Director for the Office of Kosovo, Marko Djuric, said nearly 300 doctors and nurses will receive jobs in Serb areas of Kosovo by next week. By the numbers: 387 confirmed cases, 8 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – N. MACEDONIA: N. Macedonia is set to buy 31 respirators in total from South Korea and Germany. The government is likely to recommend President Stevo Pendarovski to extend the state of emergency which is set to expire tomorrow. By the numbers: 908 confirmed cases, 44 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – MONTENEGRO: Montenegro is happy to report that 46 citizens have recovered from COVID-19, including 12 in Tuzi. Russia has coordinated another flight to take 129 of its citizens out of Montenegro. By the numbers: 283 confirmed cases, 4 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – SERBIA: Serbian police detained the head of care center for the elderly after 139 residents were confirmed with COVID-19. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic will relax restrictions of movement on the elderly and priests. Serbia’s Speaker of Parliament Maja Gojkovic wrote to her Iranian counterpart, Ali Larijani, to send well wishes after he was diagnosed with COVID-19. By the numbers: 4,465 confirmed cases, 94 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – SLOVENIA: NATO on Tuesday received a request from Slovenia for COVID-19 assistance. The head of Slovenia’s COVID-19 task force says lockdown restrictions may ease as early as next week. A Slovenian diary farm has started sending ice cream exports to China. By the numbers: 1,220 confirmed cases, 56 deaths.

* All COVID-19 statistics updated at 8:00PM EST on Tuesday, April 14, 2020.*
EU JOINT PROCUREMENT: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and N.  Macedonia have joined the EU initiative on the joint procurement of medicines, medical supplies and other goods.NATO DEFENSE MINISTERIAL: The NATO Defense Ministerial meetings are set to start today via teleconference. The main topic of discussion is response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

OSCE ON RS: The OSCE has urged officials from Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity, Republika Srpska (RS), to revoke its fake news policy. The OSCE officials said, “We fully understand the aim of tackling the dissemination of ‘fake news’ that could pose a risk to public health, or which could create panic and disorder during this health crisis. However, it is important to ensure the free flow of information and that the media can work free from any kind of pressure, in order for them to provide essential information to the public, including on vital health measures.”

MOVEMENT RESTRICTION: The Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina will rule on complete lockdown measures that affect citizens under eighteen and over sixty-five.

KOSOVO’S POLITICAL CONUNDRUM: “The Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), the main partner of Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s Self-Determination movement in Pristina’s outgoing Government said it would make a new coalition for early elections, the Beta news agency reported.Amid the crisis with the coronavirus pandemic, Kosovo seems to be heading into a political uncertainty after Albin Kurti’s cabinet was voted out on March 25.His main coalition partner, Isa Mustafa, the LDK head, said on Tuesday he considered a new partnership that would include the Alliance for Kosovo Future (ABK), Socialdemocratic Initiative (SDI), The Alliance for New Kosovo (ANK) and the minorities’ representatives.” (N1)

SERBIA + CHINA: Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Tuesday spoke with Chinese leader Xi Jingping over the phone. The two discussed the COVID-19 crisis in both countries. Serbia’s Vucic said, “We are pleased to hear the news of the normalization of the situation in China and the opening of the city of Wuhan, which has become a symbol of strength and courage in the fight against the pandemic. China and its Communist Party waged victory over a powerful coronavirus.” They added they hoped to visit each other’s countries soon.

KOSOVO MEDIA v. ORTHODOX CHURCH: Kosovo media has accused the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) of using the Russian playbook and being provocative by ringing its bells. The SOC defended its ringing of bells by citing Kosovo law and releasing a statement which said, “When the bells ring, we pray for all the sick people, not only here, but around the world, for those who selflessly care for them in hospitals, and we pray to God for the epidemic to end and for life to return to normal.” In addition, it deemed the news portals writing about the ringing of the bells as unprofessional.

IN OTHER NEWS
OP-ED: “Reliving Sarajevo’s Siege Under Lockdown” by Merdijana Sadovic in The Institute for War & Peace ReportingANALYSIS: “Moscow Using Pandemic to Shore Up Alliance With Serbia Against NATO and China” by Paul Goble in Jamestown Foundation

ANALYSIS: “Montenegro Loosens Rules on National Flags, but Debate Still Rages” by Samir Kajosevic in BIRN

ANALYSIS: “The long road to Brussels” by Santa Argirova and Lufti Dervishi in International Politics and Society

HUMAN INTEREST: “3 Croatian nurses together in a New Jersey hospital in the fight against coronavirus” in Croatia Week

CULTURE: “Three Well-Preserved Ancient Boats Unearthed in Serbia” in Archeology.org

CULTUREZagreb Zoo organized a national vote to name a baby zebra. They received suggestions from across the country including several votes for Corona. The finalists were Iskra, Nada, Prugica, Flora and Kora. In honor of the firefighters who helped Zagreb after the earthquake, Iskra (spark) was chosen.

SPORT: “Agent of Liverpool transfer target Milot Rashica drops hint over summer move” by Freddie Keighly in The Mirror (UK)

SPORT: “Hill finds success in Serbia” by Erick Taylor in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette: “More than 5,700 miles separate Grambling, La., from Kraljevo, Serbia, but it’s going to take more than just distance to throw Shakyla Hill off her game. The Little Rock native and former collegiate All-American took a route once considered unconventional to jump start her professional basketball career after not being selected in last year’s WNBA Draft. But the 5-7, cat-quick point guard had a knack for making the uncommon look common during her illustrious career at Grambling State. Hill moved on and didn’t skip a beat during a rookie season on the Balkan Peninsula that ended prematurely because of the coronavirus pandemic.”

SPORT: “Foreign players who were eligible but have never played for Macedonia” in Macedonian Football