“The price we pay is huge, we have no access to the capital market, when there is no access to the capital market, it is impossible to service our loans. <...> They say: Vucic announces the imposition of sanctions – no, we will fight as long as we can. We are suffering a lot of damage, but we are not asking anyone for anything. We tolerate a lot without imposing sanctions against the Russian Federation, but we do this because we are an independent country,” Vučić said.
Former President of Serbia remindedthat the Serbian economy is 100% dependent on gas from Russia, so Belgrade hopes for a “good price” in the upcoming gas negotiations with Moscow. Vučić stressed that currently Serbia has no alternative to natural gas from Russia.
At the same time, the Serbian leader expressed the opinion that with high prices for Russian gas, Belgrade “loses a billion,” while the lifting of sanctions against Moscow costs the country “several billions, not to mention less foreign direct investment.” However, Vučić stressed, Serbia is taking these losses in order to preserve the possibility of pursuing an independent policy.
The long-term agreement on the supply of Russian hydrocarbons ends on May 31 this year. According to the President, Serbia is starting negotiations with Gazprom on a new long-term gas contract. Vucic suggested that the price of Russian gas for Serbia under the new contract could range from $450 to $619. The Serbian leader also noted that the Bulgarian authorities promised Belgrade not to create problems for the transit of Russian gas to Serbia.
“I expect a fair price. [на предстоящих переговорах с Россией по газу]. Most importantly, he [газ] we had, the question of price is important, but it is important that there is gas. I talked to [болгарским премьер-министром] Kiril Petkov, Bulgaria will not create problems for the transit of Russian gas to Serbia,” Vucic said.
Kosovo and Ukraine
Western states say they will not agree to changing Ukraine’s borders, but they themselves are involved in redrawing the map of Serbia, insisting on Kosovo’s independence, the Serbian leader said.
“They say they will never accept changing the borders of Ukraine even by a span. Truth? Instead, you will participate in the destruction of Serbia’s national sovereignty and tell us about Kosovo as the “heart of Europe” and a separate country. <...> How can you expect that we ourselves will renounce our territorial integrity, and at the same time tell Ukraine that it should not dare to renounce and that you will never recognize this? You demand from us to recognize it at any cost, and from them not to recognize it at any cost. Think what nonsense you are saying and how hypocritical you are,” Vucic said.
At the same time, Vučić also spoke critically of Russia’s position on Kosovo. “The pressure on Serbia is growing, Medvedev is again said about Kosovo [Кремлю] there is nothing to refer to except the Kosovo precedent. <...> On the stage, on the one hand, there is the complete hypocrisy of the West, but we realized that the Russians do not have principles either, principles exist only in Serbia, ”the president said. At the same time, he admitted that he was not sure that Belgrade would not have done the same in a similar situation – “they would have pulled out what was the cruel policy of the West and a violation of international law.”
Formerly Vucic declaredthat the words of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who compared the recognition of the LDNR with the decision of the International Court of Justice to recognize the independence of Kosovo, “further complicated” the already difficult situation of Serbia. “In a political and economic sense, it has never been harder for us,” the Serbian leader said.
Kosovo, which is dominated by ethnic Albanians, broke away from Serbia following the 1998-99 war. In 2008, the region’s parliament unilaterally declared independence. More than 100 countries have recognized Kosovo’s independence. More than 60 countries oppose the recognition of Kosovo, including Russia, India, China and Ukraine.
Earlier, Vucic said that Serbia supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine, but will not impose sanctions against the Russian Federation. He noted that Serbia considers Russia and Ukraine to be fraternal states, regrets what is happening in the east of Europe, and is ready to provide humanitarian assistance to Kyiv.
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