The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has sanctioned Aleksandar Vulin, the head of the Serbian Security and Information Agency (Bezbednosno informativna agencija, BIA). Vulin is considered sympathetic to Russia and is being targeted by the Biden Administration for his political views. The move is part of the U.S. Government’s continued efforts to weaponize the dollar, which is driving other countries to seek an alternative to the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
Responding to the move, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said that Vulin’s stance on Russia motivates it. “I think it is extremely important to investigate. I think this is a common article that they use to write something. You forgot to mention the most important thing, which is Russia. The sanctions against Vulin are not imposed for corruption or criminality. The sanctions are imposed because of his attitude towards the Russian Federation,” Vučić said, adding that “the cocaine was not found in Vulin’s office, but rather in the White House.”
Vučić revealed the blatant interference by the U.S. in Serbia’s internal affairs, confirming that “If we were to impose sanctions against Russia, they wouldn’t impose sanctions against Vulin. I am saying what I have been told, which is: impose sanctions against Russia and there won’t be sanctions against anyone.”
The Serbian President concluded, “If they provide any valid evidence, we will criminally prosecute Vulin. But there is nothing here, the situation with Russia is the problem.”
OFAC claimed that the sanctions against Vulin underscore the U.S. determination “to hold accountable those engaged in corrupt dealings that further their own political agendas and personal interests at the expense of peace and stability in the Western Balkans.”
The Treasury Department press release claims that “He has used his public positions to support Russia, facilitating Russia’s malign activities that degrade the security and stability of the Western Balkans and providing Russia a platform to further its influence in the region. Vulin is the Director of Serbia’s Security Information Agency, and previously served as Minister of Defense and Minister of the Interior.”
The implications include blocking any property or interests in property owned by Vulin in the US, and also the obligation to report them to the OFAC. “All transactions by US persons within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons are prohibited unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or exempt,” read a statement by the U.S. Embassy. “The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person, or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.”
The Movement of Socialists, the party that Vulin founded and leads, issued a press release calling Vulin an “honest and brave man…. in this time of the unification of the Serbian world, which has already begun and cannot be stopped.”
The move is seen by many as another example of bullying by the Biden Administration to impose its will on the countries of the region. The U.S. Administration has been pulling out all stops to force Serbia to comply with U.S. and E.U. sanctions on Russia.