Wesley Clark
© Facebook / Wes Clark
FILE PHOTO: Retired General of the United States Army, Wesley Clark, in Kosovo
Retired US General Wesley Clark, NATO commander during the 1999 Kosovo War, has accused Russia of keeping the Balkans as a 'crisis in waiting,' raising an alarm over one humanitarian base entirely surrounded by NATO countries.

Clark was in Kosovo this week along with other leading figures from the conflict, to mark the 20th anniversary of NATO troops occupying the Serbian province on behalf of the ethnic Albanian "Kosovo Liberation Army." While he did not get a medal, like former US President Bill Clinton, or a statue like former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the retired general was interviewed by the government TV station RTK about his vision for the region.

Speaking with RTK's Evliana Berani, Clark described NATO's presence in Kosovo as an "important continuing commitment" that's helping peace and stability in the Balkans - but warned that a threat from Russia was looming over the region.

"This is all about Mr. Putin having an opportunity... It's like a crisis in waiting, it's an opportunity he puts on a shelf. And at any point when he needs a crisis, he can start a crisis: maybe here, maybe in Ukraine, maybe in the Baltics," Clark told RTK in an interview that aired on Wednesday evening's newscast.

He pointed to the Russian "base" in the Serbian city of Nis, a humanitarian and emergency response center that "has the command and control necessary to do anything else that could be done," President Vladimir Putin's recent visit to Serbia, and Serbian purchases of Russian military technology.
Russian-Serbian humanitarian center in Nis, Serbia (FILE PHOTO)
The Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center was established in 2012 as a glorified fire station and operates under the Russian Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Situations (EMERCOM), not the military. It is based in a modest, two-story converted warehouse located just outside the Nis airport.

Clark did not say a word about Camp Bondsteel, a massive US military base in southern Kosovo established in August 1999. To build the 955-acre facility, US engineers literally leveled two hills and filled in the valley between them.

© Wikipedia/KFOR
US military base Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo (FILE PHOTO)
He did point out that Serbia was "surrounded by NATO" - most likely referring to last year's admission of Montenegro and the ongoing process with North Macedonia - but absurdly claimed that there is "no possible threat to Serbia at this point from NATO" in the very same breath.

The alliance violated its own charter, as well as that of the UN, to launch the 1999 war on Yugoslavia. After it occupied Kosovo, under the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 1244, NATO proceeded to flout much of the resolution's provisions and failed to protect the lives and property of civilians in the province from ethnic Albanian militants.