Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said that the refusal of Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, and Bulgaria to give permission for his flight to Serbia led to the cancellation of his visit to this country, calling this decision unprecedented and unthinkable.
Lavrov’s visit to Serbia was scheduled for June 6-7. On the eve, the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Maria Zakharova, said that some countries had closed their skies for Lavrov’s plane. The Kremlin regards this as hostile actions, presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said.
“Of course, such hostile actions towards our country, towards high-level representatives of our country cannot cause certain problems, they can lead to the fact that the schedule of the contacts will be shifted for some time,” he said, answering whether foreign visits are now under threat.
Lavrov, himself, noted that the actions of the countries that banned the flight are “unthinkable” and “outrageous.”
“A sovereign state has been deprived of the right to implement foreign policy. Serbia’s international activities are blocked, at least for the moment, in the Russian direction,” the Minister stated.
Lavrov also said that the decision of the three countries is “a clear and instructive demonstration of how far NATO and the EU can go in using the most low-grade methods of influencing those who are guided by national interests.” According to the Minister, if the visit of the head of Russian diplomacy is perceived in the West as a threat, then, apparently, things are “very bad” there.
He added that Moscow has not yet received official explanations from the countries that have closed their skies for his plane.
“There will be many explanations that we haven’t heard yet. The countries that refused the flight of the Russian board will say that they were ordered by the EU and NATO. Those, in turn, will say that these countries themselves made an independent decision,” the head of the diplomatic department assumed.
In turn, the Serbian edition of Novosti published photos of the decisions of the Foreign Ministries of Bulgaria, Northern Macedonia, and Montenegro to ban the passage of a government aircraft from Russia through their airspace.
Answering whether Russia will somehow respond to the countries because of which his visit to Serbia did not take place, Lavrov said that Russia “will never do something that further complicates relations between peoples.”
“Our Western partners are doing this, they are increasingly facing problems at home, and not only because they are driving the sociopolitical situation in their countries into a very serious impasse, but also because even more reasonable people in Europe are beginning to wonder why they should make an enemy of Russia,” he concluded.