Putin's new Iron Curtain? How Russia is rebuilding Soviet legacy in Eastern Europe.

His most recent power play saw Pantsir-S missile systems touchdown in Serbia as the Russian President strengthens ties with the autocratic administration in Belgrade headed by President Aleksandar Vucic. Putin has already overseen monstrous arms deals with the Balkan state, supplying various weapons for both ground and air combat, including fighter jets, attack helicopters and battle tanks. The deal comes despite warnings from US President Donald Trump's administration that Washington would impose crippling sanctions on Serbia should they decide to invest in the deadly weaponry.

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Serbia is not the only country in the Balkan region feeling the Kremlin's overreaching authority, though.

Paul Stronski highlights in his paper 'Russia's game in the Balkans' that the Kremlin's influence in the Wester Balkans is geared towards undermining the countries' hopes of joining the European Union and NATO.

This is done by contributing to instability in the region making the nations less likely to be accepted into Western alliances as security fears rise.

The 'Western Balkan six' (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia ) are all aiming to join the EU, but recently two of these countries were frustrated when their integration process was delayed by resistance from within the bloc.

Putin news:
Putin news: Putin is hellbent on thwarting Balkan integration into Western Europe
Putin news:
Putin news: the new Iron Curtain mapped

French President Emmanuel Macron was the only EU leader to oppose North Macedonia’s entry into the bloc while france Paris was joined by Denmark and the Netherlands in thwarting Albania’s attempts to join the 28 current member states.

It would appear Putin's influence combined with Chinese presence in the region is thwarting the Balkan states in their search for stability.

Putin has expressed on multiple occasions his negative feelings towards the breakup of the Soviet Union, when asked at a forum in 2018 what he would change about Russian history, he responded: ""The collapse of the Soviet Union."

READ MORE: Putin's revealing KGB file made public

Putin news:
Putin news: Macron blocked North Macedonia from joining the EU

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As Stronski highlights, the Balkans represent significant historic, cultural, and religious connections due to the close links shared between the USSR and Yugoslavia during the Cold War.

Arguably Putin's most controversial political move in Eastern Europe was the illegal annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, a flashpoint still to be fully resolved now.

Conflict has also been undertaken with Georgia, and misinformation campaigns have been rife in the Baltic states as Moscow looks to revive Soviet narrative in Latvia and Lithuania.

The Russian President is not simply reviving old friendships, either.

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Putin news:
Putin news: Putin has close ties with Serbian President Vucic
Putin news:
Putin news: Putin has also sent S-400 missiles to Turkey

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He is also forging news ones at the expense of NATO allies.

This year, Moscow left NATO member states furious after treaty member Turkey accepted the delivery of Russian S-400 missiles, sparking security concerns in the West.

Kremlin weaponry placed within a NATO state could help Russia gain military intelligence, including analysis of F-35 Fighter Jets used by many European countries as well as the US and Canada.

Eastern Europe from the Baltics to the Balkans has become a political battleground as Putin sets his sights on dominance in the region.

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