Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, whose scheduled visit to Belgrade was cancelled on Monday because of an overflight ban, said that the "unthinkable has happened" and accused Brussels of depriving a sovereign state of the right to pursue its own foreign policy.
Speaking at an online press conference in Moscow, Lavrov said that “the main thing is that no one will manage to destroy our relations with Serbia,” adding that “NATO and the European Union want to turn the Balkans into their own project called The Closed Balkans.”
Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Montenegro closed their airspace to the plane that was to carry Lavrov to Belgrade on Monday.
“The Russian Foreign Minister’s visit to Belgrade is seen by the EU as a threat,” said Lavrov, claiming that the former Swedish Prime Minister, Carl Bildt, and the US Ambassador to Serbia, Christopher Hill, said the worst thing that Serbia could do on its European path is to receive Russia’s Foreign Minister, and that it has to choose between the East and the West.
“There should be freedom of choice regarding partners, the West itself advocated this and then destroyed this choice,” said Lavrov.
Commenting the fact that three Serbian neighbors decided not to allow his plane to fly over their airspace, Lavrov said the decision will be attributed to these countries, but that “we know how it was”.
Lavrov said that Moscow has invited Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic to visit Russia in the near future. “I hope the aircraft carrying him will not be exposed to shame by Brussels, which has completely lost face”, said Lavrov.
Meanwhile, the head of Russia’s Roscosmos aerospace agency threatened Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Bulgaria for closing their airspace.
Dmitry Rogozin said in a Twitter post that Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles would not need permission to fly through the airspace of those countries. “You know what Sarmat is good for? It will not ask permission from the cowardly Bulgarians, vengeful Romanians, and Montenegrins who have betrayed our common history,” he wrote.
Вот чем хорош "Сармат"? Он у трусливых болгар, злопамятных румын и предавших нашу общую историю черногорцев согласие на пролёт спрашивать не будет. Равно как и у прочих шведов.— РОГОЗИН (@Rogozin) June 5, 2022