Vehicles waving Serbian and Russian flags drove down central Belgrade streets on Sunday in the second pro-Russian demonstration since the war in Ukraine began.
Invited by the extreme right organisation People’s Patrol, the drivers in the motorcade rallied at a parking lot by the Sava Centre in New Belgrade in the afternoon to start their drive down central city streets.
In addition to Russian and Serbian flags, the automobiles bore the letters Z and V, which Russian forces invading Ukraine have emblazoned on their vehicles. At one point, the motorcade stopped near the monument to Russian Tsar Nicholas II in Kralja Milana Street.
Serbian Defence Minister Nebojša Stefanović on Sunday (13 March) dismissed claims that fighters were being recruited from Serbia to reinforce Russian military forces in Ukraine and asked the Ukrainian Supreme Headquarters to withdraw the allegation.
“This is dangerous disinformation launched by the Ukrainian Supreme Headquarters and we demand that it be withdrawn immediately. The participation of Serbian citizens in armed forces abroad is a serious felony punishable by years in prison,” Stefanović said in a written statement.
“Serbia is invested in a peaceful solution to this conflict and will not allow its commitment to peace to be undermined in any way,” Stefanović noted.
Another pro-Russian rally took place last week where the EU flag was thrown on the floor. Police did not intervene in either instance, yet when protestors wanted to cover up a mural of war criminal and genocide committer Ratko Mladic, they were restrained with force.
Serbia has refused to enforce sanctions on Russia or to otherwise align itself with the EU position. MEPs from Renew and ALDE have called for Belgrade’s EU accession process to be halted and funds to be suspended if they fail to join the EU’s common position.