President Vucic signaled a possible shift in Serbia’s position on Russia sanctions, saying that he cannot ‘swear’ that Belgrade will not join Western sanctions at some point – but hopes it doesn’t come to that.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Thursday evening that he could not “swear” Serbia will not impose sanctions on Russia at some point, over its invasion of Ukraine.
“I don’t swear by flowers and honey, as the song says, that we won’t do something [on sanctions], nor can I swear, because that would be irresponsible. But the firmness of our position is such that we have not had to do that so far,” Vucic said on a pro-Government Happy TV.
He added that “due to everything that happened in the 1990s”, referring to NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 allegedly over the conflict in Kosovo, Serbia took an attitude on sanctions that is “rational, serious and difficult to preserve”.
Serbia has been put in a difficult political position after its traditional ally Russia invaded Ukraine.
Beside close cultural and religious ties, the only company that handles oil production and imports in Serbia, Oil Industry of Serbia, NIS, is majority-owned by two Russian energy companies.
Serbia voted for a United Nations resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in March 2022, and in April voted for the exclusion of Russia from the UN Human Rights Council UNHRC.
Serbia also voted in October 2022 for the UN General Assembly Resolution condemning Russia’s attempt to annex four regions of Ukraine.
But despite pressures from the EU and US, it has refused to join EU sanctions on Russia, despite being a candidate for membership of the bloc.