The demands of Western countries for Serbia to support anti-Russian sanctions are unfair, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on March 26.
He recalled that Serbia is a sovereign state that is not a member of the European Union and in the past itself experienced aggression from NATO. The politician accused Western countries of double standards and departure from the principles of international law.
“You didn’t impose sanctions on Russia on gas and oil, you don’t like it. This is logical and reasonable. But you want to decide for a sovereign country that was not admitted to the EU and did not even open chapter 31 of the negotiation platform, what sanctions it will support, ”Vucic said in an interview with TV Prva.
The President also stressed that Serbia behaves in accordance with its interests. According to him, the crisis in Ukraine is having a dramatic impact on Serbia, which has found itself under enormous foreign policy pressure.
Earlier, on March 16, the Serbian leader said that the sanctions against the energy sector are not hurting the interests of Russia or the European Union, but Serbia, where the oil infrastructure belongs to the state and the Russian company Gazprom Neft. He clarified that the Oil Industry of Serbia (NIS) company is the largest in the region and is in fact the only oil refiner and producer in Serbia. The share of Gazprom Neft in it is 65.15%.
The day before, Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov said that the Pentagon and US allies in NATO had forgotten how the cities of Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya were bombed live. The diplomat recalled that the strikes of the Russian military are directed exclusively against the military infrastructure of Ukraine.
The next Western sanctions followed after Russia launched an operation to protect the civilian population in the Donbass on February 24. As Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov clarified at the time, the special operation has two goals – the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine. According to him, both of these aspects pose a threat to the Russian state and people.
The situation in the region escalated significantly in mid-February due to shelling by the Ukrainian military. The authorities of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics announced the evacuation of residents to the Russian Federation. On February 21, Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognizing the independence of the DPR and LPR, as well as treaties on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance. The documents were ratified the next day.