(Bloomberg) -- The European Union will seek to extend its peace-monitoring mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina beyond a November deadline, a move that may provoke Russia if the Kremlin attempts to block the mission’s United Nations mandate. 

The course of action was discussed by EU defense ministers who met late Wednesday at the NATO summit in Madrid, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who declined to be identified as the talks were not public. 

The EU’s mission in Bosnia, known as EUFOR, operates under a mandate by the UN Security Council scheduled to run out in November. The deployment, which succeeded two NATO-led missions in 2004, has acted as a safeguard for peace in the divided Balkan nation after it was torn apart in a war that ended in 1995. A contingent of 600 troops from 20 countries was bolstered by an additional 500 in a decision made Feb. 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine. 

An extension of the UN mandate has found broad consensus among EU member states, according to the officials. Should that be blocked by a Russian veto on the Security Council, the EU will try to find a way to continue the mission, they said.

Russia, in addition to having a permanent seat on the Council, is one of eight countries monitoring the implementation of the US-brokered Dayton peace accord that ended the war in Bosnia. It set up a constitutional framework to hold the nation of 3.3 million people together, but left a divide between a fragile Muslim-Croat federation and an entity controlled by Bosnian Serbs, whose leader Milorad Dodik counts Russian President Vladimir Putin as an ally. 

Russia has increased its influence in the Balkans in recent years and has fought, so far unsuccessfully, to scrap the office of High Representative in Bosnia, created to oversee the implementation the peace accord. 

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.