Serbian President Promises to Not Impose Sanctions on Russia

According to a report by TASS, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced on August 30, 2022 that Serbia will not be imposing sanctions on Russia.

“As far as the sanctions are concerned, we expressed our position almost 190 days ago through a decision by the Security Council. These decisions have been in place for six months and Serbia has been demonstrating its seriousness. You never know what may happen one day, but we are demonstrating our seriousness and resolve, and our convictions. This is our policy, and right now we aren’t thinking about changing our policy. I think the policies that we have pursued so far have been proven to be wise [ones], despite all the difficulties that we have had to endure,” Vucic stated.

In the past few months following the commencement of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, Serbia has faced great pressure to impose sanctions on the Eurasian nuclear power.

The Serbian leader likened the pressure his government has faced to that of a “script for a book or an action movie.”

“I could write a book about this that would be thicker than Marx’s Das Kapital. We will stick to our policy,” the president promised.

Previously, the European Parliament voted in favor of a resolution calling on Serbia to join the EU sanctions campaign against Russia, in addition to signing an agreement with Kosovo to forge relations predicated on mutual recognition. Kosovo is still not recognized by a significant portion of the international community.

During a national address, Vucic proclaimed that Serbia supports Ukraine’s territorial integrity, but it will not slap Russia with sanctions. Vucic said that the Serbian government views Russia and Ukraine as fraternal nations and regrets what’s taking place in the Russo-Ukrainian conflict. He pledged the Serbian state’s commitment to providing humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.

During a speech at the Globsec forum in Bratislava, Vucic revealed that 77% of Serbs are against imposing sanctions on Russia.  Due to its Orthodox Christian background, Serbia has maintained strong historical relations with the Russian civilization state.

In many respects, the NATO war that took place against Serbia during the 1990s was designed to send a message to Russia given how Serbia has historically been in Russia’s broader sphere of influence. Undoubtedly, there is still bad blood in Serbia with regards to its relations with the West.

While Serbia is not virulently hostile towards the West, it still maintains distance from it as evidenced by its reluctance to jump on the sanctions bandwagon against Russia. There are few countries in the West who maintain an independent foreign policy. Owing to its tumultuous history, Serbia has been compelled to tread lightly in the increasingly tense geopolitical climate of the 2020s. Many countries can learn important lessons from the Serbian example.

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