The Ambassador of Russia in Serbia Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko stated that the West is putting incredible pressure on Serbia for its failure to join the sanctions against Russia.

“We know both from our own information and from the leadership of Serbia that the pressure is absolutely real and brutal, specific arm-twisting and attempts to stifle the country and its will, flagrantly ignoring its own best interests,” said Botsan-Kharchenko in his interview for Politika.

He also stated that in Russia this behavior seems completely, as he said, “wild”, and estimated that the European Union, the NATO and the United States have dropped all pretenses and once again shown their true politics.

“We understand very well the incredible pressure that the West is putting on Belgrade and the difficult position that Serbia has found itself in,” said Botsan-Kharchenko.

He added that Russia is extremely appreciative of the principled line that Serbia is holding with its lack of recognition and acceptance of the anti-Russian sanctions.

Speaking on the statement by the President of Russia Vladimir Putin in which he drew a connection between the Donbas issue and Kosovo and Metohija, the Russian ambassador said that Moscow is not in the practice of commenting on the President’s statement, and stressed that Russia has not and cannot change its position on the Kosovo issue.

“We do not recognize Kosovo, and we most actively support Belgrade at international forums, above all at the UN Security Council,” pointed out Botsan-Kharchenko.

In his words, anything relating to the alleged change in Russia’s position is a fabrication with the aim to deteriorate the Moscow-Belgrade relations and get Serbia to abide by the anti-Russian measures.

Asked whether he would rule out the possibility that drawing a connection between the issues of Crimea, Donbas and Ksovo and Metohija might indeed be part of the diplomatic package, that is, the trade between Moscow and Washington, Botsan-Kharchenko replied that there are no indications of it, that the double standards are evident, that the West has no arguments, and that they have never been able to justify their position towards Kosovo and Metohija, Crimea or Donbas.

“We also see no connection between these issues, those are different contexts and historical circumstances, although Kosovo has set a precedent. We have merely pointed out that, unlike Kosovo, Crimea and Donbas held referendums where the people have made their choice, which served as the foundation for a declaration of independence, and fits into the foundations of the international law,” stressed Botsan-Kharchenko.

He pointed out that there had been no referendum in Kosovo and Metohija.

“In fact, the armed conflict in Kosovo had ended nearly a decade before the fact and negotiations had been underway, while the citizens of Donbas have been faced with a constant threat of physical destruction since 2014,” said Botsan-Kharchenko.