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Putin Praises Republika Srpska Leader Ahead Of Vote

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) meets with Milorad Dodik, the president of Republika Srpska, in Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met in the Kremlin with Milorad Dodik, president of Bosnia's Republika Srpska, and praised him ahead of elections in the Bosnian Serb entity.

A Kremlin statement quoted Putin as telling Dodik at the meeting on September 18 that relations between Russia and Republika Srpska "are developing successfully."

He called their ties a bright spot amid "difficult times in international relations and in Europe" -- a reference to the Ukraine crisis.

Putin called Dodik "an experienced politician and manager."

Dodik is seeking reelection on October 12 and told a rally last month that his goal was for Republika Srpska to "become less an entity and more a state."

The 1995 pact that ended Bosnia's three-year civil war created two highly autonomous entities, the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Serb-run Republika Srpska.

Russia's sympathies lie with the Orthodox Christian Serbs.

Based on reporting by Interfax and AFP