Serbian Speaker of Parliament Ivica Dacic has denounced countries who are pushing Serbia to impose sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
In an interview for RTS on Wednesday, Dacic said that by doing so, these countries are showing they are against Serbia, not against Russia.
The European Union and the United States have called on all countries to implement sanctions against Russia but Serbia has resisted to date.
“Tomorrow they will ask for Kosovo to join NATO, they will ask for Kosovo to join the UN. And who will we turn to? Russia. If we impose sanctions against [Russia], we will have no one to turn to,” said Dacic.
He added that Serbia is not obliged to align its foreign policy with that of the European Union before it actually joins in.
“Are they telling us that we can enter the EU tomorrow, so we should harmonize our policy today? No, they say in 10, 20 or 30 years. Well, we will harmonize our foreign policy in five years,” Dacic explained.
He questioned the practical benefits of aligning Serbia’s foreign policy with that of the EU, noting that Albania has fully harmonized its foreign policy but hasn’t been able to even start accession talks, while Serbia is a frontrunner in the EU accession process.
The speaker of parliament then denounced what he called the “hypocrisy” of the Western countries towards Serbia and Russia. Comparing it to the Russian bombing of Ukraine, he recalled the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999: “Well, it seems that the hospital in Kharkov now hurts American citizens more than our victims in Serbia,” he said.
“We respect all the victims, Ukraine is collateral damage,” he said, but this “hypocrisy is inadmissible and unacceptable for Serbia.”
In 1999, NATO bombed specific targets in Kosovo and Serbia in order to stop another possible genocide by Serbs after the Srebrenica Genocide in 1995, in which over 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were slaughtered in less than two weeks. Serbia had killed over 10,000 Kosovo Albanians before the NATO intervention through its “Angel of Mercy” military campaign, and half of the population was displaced. More than 1,600 Albanians remain missing from the war.
“The aggression against Serbia cannot be called ‘Angel of Mercy’, and this one called Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine,” the speaker of parliament said.
Dacic stressed that Serbia cannot be “pawns of the East or the West ” but will look after its own interest and not impose sanctions on Russia.