Serbia blames ‘hysteria’ for failed Lavrov visit — Analysis

Those who prevented the journey couldn’t do anything to Russia, so they targeted Serbia instead, according to Aleksandar Vucic

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic hit out against the “hysteria” demonstrated by several Balkan states that barred the plane of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov from using their airspace.

During a televised address on Monday, Vucic said that the organized campaigns against a small country like Serbia over Lavrov’s planned visit was something he hadn’t seen in a long time. He noted that the countries engaging in this ‘hysteria’ couldn’t seem to do or say anything to Russia directly, so they targeted Serbia instead.

“Look at everything, their environment, their media and politicians … We received more press than I don’t know when, just waiting to attack and denigrate Serbia,”Vucic. “And what did Serbia do wrong? Who did we do something bad to or is it just our disagreement?” he questioned. 

Vucic mentioned that Lavrov had asked him to address the issue of Lavrov’s Ka-32 helicopter for firefighting, as Serbia has a hot summer ahead. He expressed disappointment that Lavrov is now not permitted to deliver the Ka-32. 

“So what’s the problem – I can’t ask that now? Am I not allowed to?”Vucic spoke. “How are you going to tell the Serbs that Russia can no longer be our friend?” 

After questioning why anyone wanted to, the leader in Serbia continued to ask “cut off his head” and present him as a villain, while Lavrov has to go to Turkey – a NATO member that faces no consequences. 

“Turkey has 32 times more flights to Russia than Serbia,”Vucic asked why certain EU leaders could visit Putin, while Serbia wasn’t allowed to talk to Russia. “It is not a question of overflights, but the idea that Serbia cannot talk, and others can,”Vucic made the point. 

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price has commented on Lavrov’s failed visit to SerbiaBy explaining during a briefing that Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Montenegro’s decisions to decline their airspace to the minister’s plane were “sovereign decisions” by “three sovereign countries,” reflecting Europe’s determination to hold Russia “accountable for its unprovoked and unjustified aggression in Ukraine.”

Price urged Serbia to concentrate on the EU membership process, and to not lose sight of its efforts to become a member. “synchronizing its foreign and defense policy with the rest of Europe”Diversifying and diversifying the country’s energy resources, and decreasing its dependence on Russia. 

Russian FM reacts to being barred from foreign visit

Lavrov has responded to Lavrov’s failed trip, stating that NATO countries that have denied them airspace are responsible “unthinkable” and that Serbia’s international activities in the Russian direction were essentially blocked. He also praised Serbia’s readiness to host the Russian foreign minister as a brave move.

Vucic insists it wasn’t his own bravery. It was merely the rational, balanced, and calm European approach.

“It is not a question of gaining or losing political points, there will be things that people like or dislike, but we have to save the country,”Vucic stated, noting that he believes in independent decision-making.

Vucic said, however, that Serbia had to continue on its path towards integration in the European Union. However, Vucic admitted that Serbia will not progress at all on that path during the EU West Balkan summit that takes place June 23.

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