The Minister of Defense of Austria Klaudia Tanner said that this country would be withdrawing its soldiers from the EUFOR’s military mission Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina if the United Nations Security Council did not extend its mandate, reported Austrian daily Der Standard.

As Der Standard reported, the international conflict with Russia may have serious consequences for Austria and its military. They pointed out that there was a risk of terminating the most significant Austrian foreign mission, which is its participation in the peacekeeping operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Der Standard explained that the mission was a United Nations mission and that Austria has been involved in it since 2004, in spite of its officially neutral status.also, the largest contingent of soldiers in the mission belongs to Austria, which has been commanding the mission since 2009. The current commander is Austrian Major General Anton Wessely.

They explained that the previously routine extension of the mandate, which used to take place in early November, is being brought into question due to the war in Ukraine.

As Der Standard found out, the Ministry of Defense of Austria already has plans in place to pull out of the mission Althea in the event that Russia should veto the extension of the mission in the Security Council. This summer, the cabinet of Minister Tanner compiled a report on options which accounts for all possible scenarios.

The options include pulling out, and military sources confirm that this option is both theoretically and practically possible. The final decision would be up to the government of Austria, as was the case with the withdrawal of peacekeeping troops from the Golan in 2013.

The government still hopes that Kremlin will not veto the extension of the mandate, but some suspect that Putin may be intending to create more conflicts and division in the European Union, which could be easily achieved by destabilizing the Balkans. The Austrian media stated that Putin could act on the wishes of the Member of Presidency Milorad Dodik.

The second option, according to them, is that Putin may not go that far, given that the military operation may still continue without a United Nations mandate, for example if the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina were to ask the NATO for help despite the opposition of the Serbian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the event that the NATO takes position without the agreement of the United Nations Security Council, the militarily neutral Austria would be faced with a problem. Without a United Nations mandate, their participation in the mission would be inconceivable and pulling their soldiers out would become a realistic option, believes the Ministry of Defense of Austria, Der Standard reported.