Serbia Objects to Croatian Foreign Minister Labeling Vučić as Russia’s ‘Satellite’ in the Balkans

by Cristian Florescu

Serbia lodged a formal protest on Sunday in response to remarks made by Croatia’s foreign minister characterizing President Aleksandar Vučić as a Russian “satellite” within the Balkan region.

The recent conflict between the two neighbouring countries represents the continuation of their longstanding discord, which originated from the violent dissolution of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

During an interview with N1 television, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman asserted that Serbian President Vučić faces a crucial decision regarding alignment with either Russia or the European Union, emphasizing the impracticality and discomfort of attempting to straddle both sides simultaneously.

Grlić Radman contended that Vučić should not face a significant dilemma, asserting that while he can continue to maintain a relationship with Moscow, efforts to counteract detrimental Russian influence in the Western Balkans will be prioritized to safeguard regional stability. The response from the populist leader and other Serbian officials was characterized by indignation.

Vučić criticized the Croatian minister for unjustly meddling in Serbia’s internal matters and accused him of spreading falsehoods, denigrating the Serbian populace, and issuing threats against its citizens.

Grlić Radman’s assertion regarding my potential role as someone’s satellite may hold some truth; however, it is imperative to highlight that I have never assumed the position of servitude, unlike Grlić Radman.

In response to the protest note, the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs dismissed the accusation that Croatia was meddling in Serbia’s internal affairs. The ministry clarified that the Croatian official merely stated a fact about Serbia’s divergence from the European Union’s foreign and security policy about the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The Serbian Foreign Ministry expressed its anticipation for future conduct from Croatian officials that abstain from making statements that constitute interference in Serbia’s internal affairs. The ministry also expects Croatian officials to pursue a policy of reconciliation and promote harmonious relations between the two countries.

The Croatian ministry emphasized that countries seeking EU membership cannot simultaneously reap the benefits of such membership while strategically refraining from denouncing the Russian aggression and EU policies about it.

Even though Russia conducted a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Vučić’s administration has consistently maintained strong connections with Moscow. Additionally, the Serbian autocratic leader frequently highlights his intimate personal rapport with Russian President Vladimir Putin, despite Serbia’s official aspirations to join the European Union.

Serbia has declined to participate in Western sanctions imposed on Russia, a long-standing Slavic partner, while simultaneously permitting the dissemination of Moscow propaganda through media outlets like RT and Sputnik across the Balkans. EU authorities have consistently emphasized that Serbia must align its policies with the European bloc to pursue membership, and have expressed concerns regarding the growing Russian influence in the conflict-affected area.

In recent years, Croatia, a member of both the European Union and NATO, and Serbia have engaged in a series of contentious disputes among their respective officials. Additionally, the two nations have recently embarked on a limited arms buildup, a development that experts suggest may exacerbate regional tensions.

0 comment

You may also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More