Vucic continues to align Serbia towards Russia
The President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, is going for an official visit to Moscow in the end of November, in which he’s expected to receive instructions from Russian President, Vladimir Putin, on the new Serbia’s directions regarding Kosovo, and other issues in the Region, that would be in the interest of Russia and Serbia. Few days ago Vucic met the Ambassador to Belgrade, Aleksandar Bocan-Kharchenko, to coordinate the upcoming visit.
During the meeting with the Russian ambassador, Vucic stressed the great importance of the forthcoming visit to Moscow, given “the reputation and influence of the Russian Federation and President Putin in the world, on the political scene and in world economic trends.”
Vucic and Putin met for the last time in June 2020, but they’ve had frequent phone calls on all key issues and the general situation in the region and the world. While the last meeting between Vucic and Kharchenko was held in end of September, when he made a surprise visit to the border with Kosovo. The situation then was tense due to the implementation of the reciprocity measures regarding the license plates from Kosovo authorities.
The Russian ambassador conveyed the message at the time that Moscow was “monitoring the situation with great concern” in the Kosovo north .
Kharchenko has continued to criticize, and he could not remain immune to the issue of KFOR and the EU-mediated dialogue. With his statements and criticisms he implements Russian policy in all ways, so the situation in the north of Kosovo was very convenient to him, to try and denigrate the USA, EU, NATO, for an alleged passive role.
He accused the KFOR mission of reacting quite “vaguely to a series of attempts by Kosovo to occupy the Serb-populated north”, while stressing that Brussels uses the dialogue mainly to legitimize Kosovo-Albania’s excessive claims, which, as he said, are increasing day by day.
Moscow has continued to use the situation in northern Kosovo as a channel to expand its influence. Kharchenko and the defense envoy, Major General Alexander Zinchenko, visited Serbian Army forces on September 26th. The forces were in a state of alert at the military base, just a few kilometres from a blocked border point. The presence of Russian and Serb officials on the border between Serbia and Kosovo is a confusing message.
The Russian ambassador also used the visit to comment on the viewpoint of Western countries, which he called “strange” and “harmful”, emphasizing that they are turning a blind eye to a very dangerous situation and as he said – everyone understands who is to blame and where is the source for such provocations coming from, although the EU, US and NATO in various cases since the beginning of the crisis, have called on Serbia and Kosovo to calm tensions and resolve the open issues through the dialogue.
As for Kosovo, Vucic has consistently used good relations with Russia and the Russian President to talk to him during tensions in Kosovo, even after the arrest of the then director of the Kosovo Office, Marko Djuric, who entered illegally in the territory of Kosovo.
“Unlike with the Western partners, it is easier to talk to Russia about the Kosovo issue,” he said at the time.
According to him, Putin said that he is closely monitoring the situation in Kosovo and that Serbia can count on Moscow’s help, where, as he said “will not stand idly by”.