Putin blasts influence on the Western Balkans

Serbia is currently taking important steps on its path to the EU and although it is determined to be part of it, Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić also keeps working on the country’s friendship with Russia.

Russian president Vladimir Putin heads a prominent delegation in Serbia today in order to consolidate relations with the West Balkans. He arrived in Serbia for his fourth visit since 2001. On the meeting with the Serbian leader Aleksandar Vučić approximately 20 bilateral documents are expected to be signed.

In interviews with Serbian media Putin claims that Serbia is forced to make an “artificial choice” between EU and Moscow.

“The policy of the United States and some other western nations aimed at asserting their dominant role remains a serious destabilising factor here,” he said.

Putin complained about their attempts to secure dominance into the Balkans absorbing Montenegro into NATO and seeking to include Macedonia into the Western military alliance, too. In regards to the Russian president accusations towards US and some western nations, Serbian leader Aleksandar Vučić claimed that they are “military neutral” and have “no aspirations to join either NATO or the Russian alliance”.

“We have a good relationship with Russia and we have no problems with Russia but we are on our EU path.” Serbia has refused to join Western sanctions against Russia over Ukraine and has promised it will stay out of NATO.

According to Putin, Russia “has always viewed the Balkans as a space for constructive cooperation. So Russia has many friends here today, and the strategic partner Serbia holds a special place.”