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While condemning Ukraine invasion, Serbia refuses to back sanctions against Russia

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, left, speaks to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, June 23, 2020. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, left, speaks to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, June 23, 2020. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Serbia is defying calls from the European Union and the US to join sanctions against Russia, although its autocratic president said that Moscow’s assault against Ukraine is against international law.

With the move, Serbia remains a rare European state together with Belarus not to join Western sanctions introduced against Moscow for its invasion of a sovereign European state.

“Serbia respects the norms of the international law,” President Aleksandar Vucic said. “But Serbia also understands its own interests.”

Vucic said that Serbia regards the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity as “very wrong,” but added it won’t join international sanctions against Russia.

Despite formally seeking EU membership, Serbia has been strengthening ties with its traditional Slavic ally Russia. Moscow has been supplying Serbia’s armed forces with weapons, leading to more tensions in the Balkans which went through a bloody civil war in the 1990s.

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