Croatian PM urges Serbia to ‘not sit on two chairs’ over Russia

The current conditions will force Serbia to decide which side it is on, Plenkovich said, commenting on the situation with the refusal of the Balkan countries to let Lavrov's plane through. Vučić promised to resist sanctions against Russia as long as possible

Andrei Plenkovic

The Serbian authorities should be careful and decide who they are with in the current conditions, if the republic intends to get into the European Union, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said at a press conference, N1 TV channel reports.

This is how Plenkovic reacted to the request journalists to comment on the cancellation of the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Serbia— his plane the day before refused to let North Macedonia, Bulgaria and Montenegro through their airspace.

“This has nothing to do with us, this is a question between Russia and Serbia. Serbia needs to be very careful [and decide] which side it chooses and supports if it has ambitions to join the EU,— Plenkovic replied.— Now is not the time to sit on two chairs.

On June 5, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova announced the ban on the overflight of Lavrov's plane. She explained: “The Russian delegation was supposed to arrive in Belgrade for negotiations. Countries— EU and NATO members closed their airspace, closed another channel of communication. Lavrov called the incident unthinkable and expressed the opinion that Serbia was deprived of the right to conduct an independent foreign policy towards Russia.

The Russian minister was supposed to visit Belgrade on June 6-7, during the visit he planned to meet with President Aleksandar Vucic, Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic, Chairman of the National Assembly (Parliament) Ivica Dacic and Patriarch Porfiry of Serbia. Serbian Prime Minister Anna Brnabic noted that the organization of Lavrov's visit turned out to be a difficult task, even the President of Serbia was busy with it.

The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry confirmed the decision to deny Lavrov's plane overflight, explaining this measure with the sanctions imposed against the minister. European sanctions against the diplomat were introduced at the end of February. Zakharova assured that the head of the Foreign Ministry did not have accounts “anywhere abroad”.

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Vučić made a statement in mid-May that Serbia intends to resist the imposition of sanctions against Russia “for as long as it can.” He indicated that Belgrade was facing consequences for its position, in particular the lack of access to the capital market and difficulties in servicing loans. “Everyone will say, 'Vučić announces sanctions.' No. We will resist,— he stressed.

The Serbian president assured that the country does not adhere to either a Russophobic course or a pro-Western one, although it is surrounded by NATO states: «Serbia— like a small island. Some call it a problem. What is the problem if you believe in your people, in the heroic genes of your citizens, and that we are able to defend our land and want to have the right to defend our borders, our country, have our own military and defend our sky.

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