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Russian minister’s visit canceled after overflight refusal

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BELGRADE, Serbia — Serbia and Russia on Monday formally confirmed {that a} deliberate go to by Russia’s international minister to the Balkan nation won’t happen, with Moscow accusing the West of stopping the journey.

The announcement adopted experiences that Serbia’s neighbors, Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro had refused to permit Sergey Lavrov’s airplane to fly by their airspace to achieve Serbia.

“An unthinkable factor has occurred,” Lavrov stated throughout an internet information convention on Monday. “A sovereign state has been disadvantaged of its proper to conduct international insurance policies. The worldwide actions of Serbia on the Russian observe have been blocked.”

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic stated earlier on Monday that Russia’s ambassador to Serbia had met with him and knowledgeable him of the the reason why Lavrov couldn’t come.

Vucic provided no particulars, however the pro-Russian Vecernje Novosti day by day carried images of what it stated had been official paperwork rejecting the overflights.

Lavrov blamed NATO international locations for engineering the flight ban — Montenegro, Bulgaria and North Macedonia are all members of NATO — noting that the motion confirmed once more that the principle objective of the alliance enlargement is to attempt to isolate Russia.

He stated the West has trampled on the precept of a free selection of international coverage companions.

“From the Western viewpoint, Serbia mustn’t have any selection, any freedom in selecting its companions,” he stated. “The West clearly reveals that it will use any base means to use strain.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov deplored what what he described as “hostile actions,” however stated this “gained’t considerably hamper the continuation of our nation’s contacts with pleasant international locations like Serbia.”

Serbia has maintained pleasant relations with Russia regardless of the conflict in Ukraine, refusing to hitch sanctions in opposition to Moscow. Many in Serbia view the fellow-Slavic nation as an in depth ally and Moscow has backed Serbia in its effort to retain its declare on Kosovo.

In Belgrade, Serbia’s pro-Russian Inside Minister Aleksandar Vulin expressed “deep remorse” {that a} “nice and confirmed” pal of Serbia couldn’t come. Vulin added that “Serbia is proud that it isn’t a part of anti-Russian hysteria, and the international locations which can be (a part of it) could have time to be ashamed.”

Serbia is also absolutely depending on Russian gasoline. Vucic not too long ago talked to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the cellphone to rearrange a brand new deal on gasoline provides for the subsequent three years.

Analyst Slobodan Stupar described Lavrov’s tried go to to Belgrade as a “present” that may have been utilized by Moscow to additional vilify the West.

“I consider the Russians invited themselves” to Serbia, Stupar advised The Related Press. “They’re terribly remoted. … They’ll now say that Europe and the world will not be democratic and gained’t enable a easy flyover.”

Analysts in Belgrade have identified that Lavrov’s go to would additional erode Serbia’s standing within the West after Belgrade rejected imposing sanctions on Moscow.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is predicted within the area later this week.

Stupar stated that Vucic has positioned himself “in between” Russia and the West, by trying to keep up ties with Moscow whereas Serbia is in search of membership within the European Union on the identical time.

“That’s the worst attainable place one can think about,” Stupar stated.



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