Today, the Department of State is designating two individuals and 12 entities from the Western Balkans connected to Russia’s malign influence in the region and the corruption that enables it.  The Department is designating Misa Vacic, a Serbian politician, for participating in Kremlin-organized illegitimate annexation referenda in Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine in September 2022.  The Department also designates Nenad Popovic, a former Serbian government official, and his associated companies.  Popovic maintains close ties to the Kremlin and uses his network for corrupt schemes to build personal wealth.

Concurrently, the Department of the Treasury is imposing sanctions on eight individuals and six entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Montenegro, and North Macedonia that directly facilitate Russian influence or whose corrupt activities benefit from Russian influence.  These individuals and entities also impede critical reforms and progress toward EU accession.  With these designations, the U.S. Government aims to change the behavior of those involved and combat local corruption, organized crime, and the illicit deals and influence peddling that advance Russian malign influence.

State actions are being taken under Executive Order (E.O.) 14024, “ Blocking Property Concerning Specified Harmful Foreign Activities of the Government of the Russian Federation.”  Treasury actions were taken under E.O. 14024 and E.O. 14033, “Blocking Property and Suspending Entry Into the United States of Certain Persons Contributing to the Destabilizing Situation in the Western Balkans.”  For more information on today’s action, please see the Department of State’s fact sheet and the Department of the Treasury’s press release.