President calls his country last ‘free tribe’ in Europe — Analysis

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic says he’s proud his country is implementing its policies without international intervention

Serbia is the last “free tribe” of Europe, President Aleksandar Vucic said on Sunday, comparing the country to the village of “indomitable Gauls” from the iconic French comic series ‘Astérix’. While addressing an audience in Pozarevac, eastern Serbian, the president referenced pop culture.

“I’m happy that, like in the comic book about Astérix and Obelix, there’s one small tribe of Gauls that holds out and protects its freedom on the territory of Europe. And I’m proud that this small tribe is the citizens of Serbia, and our country, which conducts its policy independently and on its own,”Vucic declared.

The road to Ukraine started with 1999’s Kosovo War

Serbia has been under pressure from its neighbor since Russia invaded Ukraine in late October. The country is the only European state to have maintained a neutral stance in the conflict, refusing to swell the wave of anti-Russian sanctions, despite the EU’s efforts to “harmonize” its position on Ukraine with the bloc’s.

While Serbia saw massive pro-Russian rallies take place, Belgrade is now officially neutral. Vucic, the government’s spokesperson for the conflict has pledged to stop all military cooperation between NATO and Moscow during the conflict and to penalize Serbs who join either side as volunteer soldiers.

Moscow attacked its neighbor last month, following a seven-year standoff over Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The protocols were French- and German-brokered. They had been intended to normalize those areas within Ukraine’s state.

Russia demanded Ukraine be declared a neutral state and refuse to join NATO. Kiev maintains that Russia’s offensive was not provoked and denies claims it planned to seize the two republics.

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