Russia’s Lavrov visit to Serbia denied as Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Montenegro refuse use of airspace

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Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic on Monday morning met with Russian ambassador Aleksandr Botsan-Kharcenko, who informed him of the reasons that prevented Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov from arriving in Belgrade.

“Ambassador of the Russian Federation Botsan-Kharcenko informed me of the reasons that prevented the arrival of Minister Lavrov to Belgrade and brought me documents confirming them,” Vucic wrote on his Instagram profile, as media reported.

Vucic added that he would be discussing the issue in the evening on the new service of the Serbian public broadcaster RTS.

Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Montenegro (all NATO nations, with Bulgaria also part of the EU) did not granted the use of their airspace for Lavrov, who had planned a visit to Belgrade for Monday and Tuesday.

The three Balkan countries were abiding by Western sanctions placed on Russia due to its armed intervention in Ukraine.

Serbia, instead, despite condemning the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, refuses to impose sanctions against Moscow, citing its own national interests.

Konstantin Kosaciov, vice president of the high chamber of the Russian parliament, was cited Monday by Interfax as urging a severe reaction by Moscow against the three countries that refused to allow Lavrov to use their airspace.

He said that the decision was aimed “against Russia as a state and against Serbia as a state”, and that the reaction should not be limited simply to a diplomatic protest.

Ansa

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