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The Financial Express

Three countries block Russian FM’s plane from travelling to Serbia

Sergei Lavrov describes the move as ‘unprecedented’


| Updated: June 07, 2022 15:29:13


Three countries block Russian FM’s plane from travelling to Serbia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's visit to Serbia was cancelled after countries around Serbia closed their airspace to Lavrov’s aircraft.

Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro had closed their airspace to the plane that would have carried Moscow's top diplomat to Belgrade on Monday, reports Reuters.

Serbia, which has close cultural ties with Russia, has fended off pressure to take sides over Russia's invasion of Ukraine and has not joined western sanctions against Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic agreed last month that Russia would continue supplying natural gas to Serbia, while other countries have been cut off for refusing to pay for Russian gas in roubles.

Meanwhile, Sergei Lavrov on Monday described the move by three countries as ‘unprecedented’, adding that he had yet to receive an explanation for their decision.

He said that he would instead invite his Serbian counterpart to visit him in Moscow, adding: "The main thing is no one will be able to destroy our relations with Serbia".

The Kremlin described that as a hostile action.

Lavrov told reporters: "If a visit by the Russian foreign minister to Serbia is seen in the West as something approaching a threat on a universal scale, then things in the West are clearly pretty bad."

Serbia's Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin said he deeply regretted "the obstruction" of the visit of Lavrov, whom he described as "a great and proven friend of Serbia."

"A world in which diplomats cannot seek peace is a world in which there is no peace. Those who prevented the arrival of Sergei Lavrov do not want peace, they dream of defeating Russia," Vulin said in a statement.

"Serbia is proud that it is not part of the anti-Russian hysteria, and the countries that are, will have time to be ashamed."

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