Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was due to arrive in Serbia earlier this month, and this was also supposed to be his first visit to this part of Europe since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.
According to Nova.rs, the idea of Lavrov’s arrival in Belgrade was initiated personally by the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, during talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.
In early June, Serbia found itself at the centre of a diplomatic war between Russia and the West. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was supposed to have a two-day visit to Belgrade on June 6 and 7, but the visit was cancelled because Bulgaria, Montenegro and North Macedonia banned his plane from entering their airspace.
According to Nova, Lavrov, who is subject to EU sanctions, reportedly received an invitation to personally visit the country from the Serbian head of state, Aleksandar Vučić. “During a telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin in late May, Vučić invited the Russian foreign minister to visit Serbia. The Russian side agreed and preparations for the visit began immediately,” the source said.
Bearing in mind that the reason for the talks between Vučić and Putin was a new gas agreement between Serbia and Russia, Lavrov was expected to confirm the agreement made by the presidents upon his arrival. “Lavrov did not invite himself to come to Serbia, as was claimed. The Serbian side was ready to play a host to him, but obviously, the strong reaction of the European Union was not expected,” the source underlined.
After Lavrov’s visit was cancelled, official Moscow said that “Serbia’s foreign policy has been cancelled.”
“Something unthinkable has happened. A sovereign state has been deprived of the right to pursue its foreign policy. Serbia’s international activities in the Russian direction have been blocked. If the Russian Foreign Minister’s visit to the West is perceived almost as a threat on a global scale, then, by all accounts, things are pretty bad there,” Lavrov said following the cancellation of his visit.
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