The spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, has criticized the request of the Minister of Economy of Serbia, Radeta Basta, for the Serbian Government to impose sanctions on Russia.
“Some strange behavior: America is putting pressure on Serbia, and the Serbian minister is asking for Russia’s opposition. Maybe it would be better if the Serbian minister would speak out strongly against the pressure on his country?” Zakharova wrote on her Telegram account.
So far, this is Russia’s only reaction to the statement made by Basta on March 13.
The Serbian minister declared that Serbia is facing pressure, since, as he said, it did not join the sanctions that the European Union and the United States imposed on Moscow.
“Russia, unlike the USA, has always respected Serbia and its people. And the issue is not only about the historical truth, but about a clear fact: with the imposition of sanctions against Russia, the US pressure on Serbia will not stop, but will only increase,” said Maria Zakharova.
Basta is the first minister of the Serbian Government, which, since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February of last year, has publicly declared in favor of imposing sanctions on Russia. He explained that this would have to be done because of the Serbian economy and national interests.
“I see how much pressure is being put on the president of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, and I cannot accept that we continue to be silent”, declared the Serbian Minister of Economy.
Minister Basta is an official of the United Serbia party, which is a coalition partner of the Socialist Party of Serbia led by Ivica Dacic.
These parties are in power together with the Serbian Progressive Party of President Vucic.
Ivica Dacic, who is Serbia’s foreign minister, said his party supports the position taken last year by the country’s National Security Council.
“Serbia condemns the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, but is not in favor of imposing sanctions on Russia,” Dacic said on March 13.
He said that the position of Minister Basta does not represent the position of the coalition partners.
Serbia is a candidate country for EU membership, but has not imposed sanctions on Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine.
Serbia, which enjoys close relations with Russia, is also the only country in the Western Balkans region that has not imposed sanctions on Moscow, but has supported several United Nations resolutions that have condemned Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.