Diplomat Zoran Milivojević said to the Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) that he cannot remember an event such as the ban on Sergey Lavrov’s aircraft on the eve of his announced visit to Serbia. He pointed out that this is a precedent in international relations, and that what happened also has the aim of putting a certain amount of pressure on Serbia, which is being asked to change its position on Russia relating to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, to fall in line and impose sanctions.

“I do not remember an event such as this one, and it must be said that this is a precedent regarding the relations between two countries by third-party countries, one that is not concerned with the interests of either Serbia or Russia, but the interests of a third party, in this case the NATO and the European Union,” pointed out Milivojević.

He believes that what happened has two key objectives, the first of which is aimed at Russia — the effort to fully implement the imposed sanctions and cut off Russia from any communication, especially in the space which is of particular interest for the European Union and the NATO.

“The second objective is to put a certain amount of pressure on Serbia to somehow change its position towards Russia regarding the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, and to fall in line and impose sanctions. Those are two objectives that have virtually nothing to do with the relations between Serbia and Russia,” explained Milivojević.

Pressure Being Put on Serbia Did Not Start Yesterday

Zoran Milivojević stated that the cancellation of Sergey Lavrov’s visit will not threaten the relations between Russia and Serbia.

“The pressure being put on Serbia did not start yesterday, and none of this is a new thing. It has been ongoing since the moment when Serbia made its own choice and chose its own political interests and decided not to impose sanctions,” emphasized Milivojević.

He pointed out that the practice of the international law and international relations, and even the diplomatic convention, does not preclude diplomatic communication even when there is an environment of war, seeing as diplomacy has its purpose and function.

“Under these circumstances that we have in Europe and globally, diplomacy should be the one to open the doors. It is certain that the aims of Russia and Serbia were not detrimental and surely could have served as some sort of a shock absorber in these times when there is a conflict,” believes Milivojević.

He emphasized that Serbia’s interests were not being brought into question.

“The attempts to threaten the position of Serbia as a militarily neutral and politically independent country in this way will fail. Serbia led itself with its own interests and aims, and it has a clear position. There will be no changes in that regard,” stressed Milivojević.

He said that Serbia is on the path of European integration, but it also has the right and obligation to protect its own best interests in an optimal manner.