U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Balkans Gabriel Escobar urged Serbia to join in the European Union’s sanctions against Russia.
Escobar gave a video speech for the Southeastern Europe Democracy Summit that took place in Montenegro this week.
“Almost every country in the Western Balkans has agreed that Russia will pay a price for this through sanctions, supporting Ukraine and its people. I hope that Serbia will join this group and harmonize sanctions when the government is formed,” Escobar said.
The Assistant Secretary is the latest in a long line of diplomats urging Serbia to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine through sanctions.
In May, EU top diplomat Josep Borrell declared that Serbia’s policy with regards to Russia and its non-alignment with the EU’s foreign policy is “no longer” compatible with the country’s ambition to join the union.
Recently re-elected President Aleksandar Vucic complained that Serbia is facing mounting pressures from all sides, but has sent clear signs that he does not plan to change course.
Rather, he has strengthened Serbia’s ties with Russia, recently agreeing to a comprehensive gas deal, just as the European Union voted to cut ties with Russian oil.
Serbia remains the only country in Europe, besides Belarus, not to impose sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.