Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik has said that this Bosnian entity is actually a state, that his policy in the period ahead will focus on strengthening its statehood, and that it is not necessary that Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) survive within the existing borders.

In Saturday's interview with the Russian pro-government news agency Sputnik, Dodik said that January 9 would be observed as Republika Srpska Day despite a BiH Constitutional Court decision that it was an unconstitutional anniversary. "Republika Srpska was formed as a state on January 9 and it will continue to build its state-building character," he was quoted as saying.

He said Republika Srpska was not a result of war but decisions adopted in January 1992, before the war in BiH began, and that it therefore represented a legitimate entity born out of the wishes of Bosnian Serbs. He said Bosnian Serbs would not agree to staying in a "centralised BiH" but continue to strengthen their autonomy.

Dodik said Western countries encouraged a policy aimed at diminishing the powers of the entity, while describing Russia as an ally. "The West still wants us to renounce some of our national positions, including Republika Srpska itself, because they see that as some path we should take. Actually, they are practising with us, not acknowledging reality and not hearing what we are saying. On the other hand, I have witnessed that Russia is listening to what we are saying."

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