Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has praised Serbia for refusing to impose sanctions against Moscow over its aggression in Ukraine, saying the Balkan ally has made “a smart choice.”
“We deeply respect the Serbian people, Serbian culture, Serbian history and commitment to traditional friends,” Lavrov told a group of Serbian journalists in a video conference. “We are sure that they will continue to make smart choices in this situation.”
Although Serbia voted in favor of a UN resolution condemning Russia’s invasion, Belgrade has refused to join the United States and the European Union in imposing wide-ranging sanctions against Moscow.
Lavrov said the sanctions are “an attempt by the United States to impose its hegemony” in the Balkans and added that the West “is trying to isolate Russia” in the region that has seen a devastating war in the 1990s.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, which led to the introduction of a series of sanctions. Two days after the invasion began, the European Union excluded some Russian banks from the SWIFT system, approving a hitherto unprecedented military aid package.
It also banned Russian planes from entering EU airspace, as well as Russian media outlets Sputnik and Russia Today. Several other countries, including the United States, have imposed sanctions. According to the UNHCR, about 4.5 million people have fled Ukraine since the invasion began.
(Radio Free Europe, 28.03.2022)
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