Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Friday that official Belgrade will not impose sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis but advocates respect for that country’s territorial integrity.
“Serbia will be guided solely by its own interests in considering sanctions against any state including Russia. It feels that it is not in its interest to impose sanctions on any state,” the president told a news conference, reading out a set of conclusions reached by the Council for National Security.
“Serbia respects international law as the best way to protect itself and its interests … Serbia has its vital interests and has traditional friends. We responded in the most responsible way to challenges,” he said and added that the decision will not be to everyone’s liking.
“We managed to take a stand on the crisis in Ukraine in terms of what state bodies will do,” he said adding that the decision was taken with a cool head in the best interest of Serbia. “We believe that showing respect for international law means that our position will be strengthened in the defense of our interests,” Vucic said.
He said that he met with the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Patriarch Porfirije and informed him of the decisions taken by the Council for National Security. Vucic also criticized what he said are “tycoon media” which he claimed had spread lies earlier in the day by reporting that Serbia would not take a clear stand on Ukraine and its territorial integrity. He also criticized MEP Viola von Cramon, saying that she had wrongly claimed that Belgrade would not take a clear stand on Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
According to the Serbian President, the Council said that Serbia regrets events in east of Europe because both Russia and Ukraine friendly states. It said that Serbia respects the territorial integrity of states as a basic principle, including the territorial integrity of Ukraine. “The Republic of Serbia feels that it is very wrong to violate the territorial integrity of any state, including Ukraine,” Vucic said quoting the conclusions. He added that all military and police activities with foreign partners will be discontinued and that state bodies will do everything to prevent Serbian nationals from joining in the conflict.
He said that the Serbian authorities will do whatever they can to protect Serbian nationals in Ukraine and provide aid to the people of that country.