Russia's Zapad 2017 exercise, in which Russia defended Belarus against externally supported extremist groups, conveyed Russia's determination to re-establish its sphere of influence in the face of NATO’s perceived expansionism. NATO must not allow the fact that Zapad was less aggressive than some had feared to blunt its message of greater vigilance and preparedness, nor shake its firm commitment to eastern European allies.
I met the recently-deceased Oliver Ivanovic around 2001 or 2002, when I was a member of the local staff of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo at their new office in Belgrade. My boss at the time was much more relaxed than me, and my first impression was that of a bridge-keeper. He was polite, relaxed, ready for conversation, and cooperation – these were my impressions after our first meeting.
Oliver Ivanović, one of the most prominent Kosovo Serb politicians, was killed in front of his office this morning around 08:15. According to the press reports, he was hit with four or five bullets, found by a neighbor still alive, but died in a hospital within an hour. A burned car was found in a street near by, and the Kosovo Police Service said it was probably the car used in the assassination. So far, nobody had heard or seen anything.
People like to believe they're right even if there's solid data that contradicts them. As vaccines show, this fiction-over-fact phenomenon can be dangerous.