The heads of ten parliamentary committees on foreign affairs and over fifty members from various parliaments, including the Ukrainian one, recently signed an open letter urging increased support for partially recognised Kosovo.
Among those who signed was Olexandr Merezhko, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament from the presidential party ‘Sluha Narodu.’ It has prompted a strong reaction from the Serbian president.
For more details on the situation and how to respond to Serbia’s threats, read the column by EuroPravda’s editor Yurii Panchenko, ‘Ukraine Will Lose Everything’: How Kyiv Should Respond to Threats from Serbia’s President.
The author notes that the signature of the open letter by Olexandr Merezhko, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada and Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation, has caused an intense reaction from the Serbian president. Merezhko is a representative of the ruling party ‘Sluha Narodu,’ so his signature could be interpreted as a potential shift in Ukraine’s stance, Panchenko explains.
“In Serbia, the Ukrainian signatures in this letter have been taken seriously as preparation for recognising Kosovo. Media under Serbian control have already begun discussing possible steps by Belgrade in response, including the deportation of Ukrainian refugees who have found shelter in the country,” the journalist adds.
According to Panchenko, the situation was softened by a statement from the Ukrainian embassy, urgently circulated among Serbian media, which has reassured the Serbian authorities. Panchenko points out that this statement helped calm the Serbian government, with President Vučić placing the main emphasis of his conference on criticising other politicians.
Furthermore, Vučić specifically highlighted that he considers Ukraine a friendly country for Serbia and that there have been no problems in relations with Ukraine.
“Ukraine is a friendly country to us. I believe Zelenskyy is smarter than Merezhko. Because imagine this: if Ukraine recognises Kosovo’s independence, it will lose everything in a single day,” summed up the Serbian president.
However, simultaneously, Vučić responded to calls to reconsider his policy towards Russia, stating that he will always advocate for a “libertarian approach” and Serbia’s right to make its own decisions.
“Nevertheless, it’s worth acknowledging the obvious: Vučić’s statement about good relations with Ukraine doesn’t match reality,” the author notes.
According to Panchenko, Serbia fundamentally refuses to impose sanctions against Russia, hardly reacts to well-known instances of Serbs participating in the war against Ukraine, and pro-government Serbian MPs demand recognition of territories occupied by Russia.
Another twist from the Serbian president, Panchenko reminds us, is the recognition that Kosovo’s independence does not violate international law. In 2010, the International Court of Justice recognised the legality of Kosovo’s declaration of independence under international law.
“Consequently, the insinuations from the Serbian government about a similarity between the situation with Kosovo and Ukraine shouldn’t be left without a reaction,” advises the EuroPravda editor.
Additionally, Serbia is criticised for supporting the Republika Srpska’s (autonomous entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina) desire to hold a referendum this autumn that could lead to its separation from the unified country.
According to Yurii Panchenko, this move could ignite a new war in the Balkans. It aligns with Russia’s interests and contradicts Kyiv’s interests, which demands the activation of our actions.
In conclusion, the author adds that Serbia is not refusing to help Ukraine, but only in humanitarian aspects. More importantly, Belgrade perceives this assistance as an assurance that Kyiv will not raise issues of sanctions or relations with the aggressor country.
“Is such an exchange satisfactory for Ukraine? It seems not. However, the state of Ukraine has yet to boldly declare this. So, perhaps it’s time to change this practice?” the journalist highlights./European Pravda/