The Serbs who survived the NATO bombings in 1999 sympathize with the Ukrainians, and official Belgrade adheres to the territorial integrity of Ukraine, declared Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in an interview with Politico. At the same time, as the Serbian leader noted, his country sees as “a double standard” the position of the world community, which recognizes the independence of Kosovo. What else did the Serbian leader talk about in an interview with the American edition – in the material of RTVI.
On Serbia’s accession to the European Union. According to Vučić, “Serbia will remain on the path to the EU”, although Belgrade “will have to make difficult choices in the future”. The president did not specify what kind of tough decisions he was talking about.
On the recruitment of Serbs into the ranks of the Wagner PMC. Serbs who take part in the fighting in Ukraine as part of the Wagner PMC “will be stopped when they return to Serbia”, Vučić said. “I don’t need Wagner’s support <...>I don’t need them (“the Wagnerians”) to applaud me or criticize me,” he added.
In January, Vučić demanded an end to the recruitment of Serbs into Wagner’s PMC. As Reuters noted, the president has criticized Russian websites and social media groups that post ads in Serbian calling for joining a private military company. PMC founder Yevgeny Prigozhin in turn said that Wagner “had no contact with Serbia.” Serbian activists also demanded the opening of a case against Wagner PMC.
About the similarity of the war in Serbia with the events in Ukraine. As Vucic noted, Serbs who survived NATO bombings in 1999 during the war with Kosovo sympathize with Ukrainians. “You can’t hear a single bad word about Ukrainians in Serbia.”
On Serbia’s attitude to the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine. In Belgrade, “from the first moment they condemned what happened on February 24,” the president said. He also underlined that Serbia has always supported the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
On the independence of Kosovo. Serbs believe that the international community is double standards because it has ignored Serbia’s territorial integrity while supporting Kosovo’s independence. “This is our biggest political and psychological problem,” Vučić said.
Kosovo, which previously had the status of an autonomous region within Serbia, declared its independence in 2008, at the same time as the country established its relations with the EU. Kosovo’s sovereignty has been recognized by 22 of the 27 EU countries, as well as the United States and Great Britain. Serbia, in turn, considers Kosovo to be part of its territory. Apart from Serbia, Russia and China also do not recognize Kosovo’s independence. On February 7, Vucic again announced that Serbia would not recognize Kosovo’s independence.
At the same time, the evening of February 15 in Belgrade pass a far-right rally in which demonstrators opposed the “Franco-German” plan to resolve the situation in Kosovo, which involves Serbia’s recognition of the territorial integrity of Kosovo without establishing diplomatic relations with Pristina . Protesters accused Vucic of being ready to accept the West’s offer to recognize the region’s independence, and also threatened to kill Serbia’s president, Danas noted.
About the conversation with Blinken on Kosovo. At the Munich Security Conference, where US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with Vucic on February 18, Washington wanted to hear Serbia’s position on Kosovo, the president said. “They (the United States) showed respect for a small country like us. We know what they expect from us; but they also know what we think about the security of our people in Kosovo.
After the start of the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Serbia did not impose sanctions against Moscow. At the same time, at the beginning of February, Vučić admitted that as a result Belgrade could take sanctions against Russia. “I’m not happy with that, but I don’t know how long we can go without imposing sanctions. We pay a price for not introducing them,” he noted. Telegram channels also write that Ukrainian troops began to use Serbian missiles. RTVI said what is known about it.
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