Relations between the great powers are very tense and a nuclear conflict is looming, warns Aleksandar Vucic
The major powers appear to be heading for a direct confrontation and Serbia risks being trampled on, President Aleksandar Vucic said on Friday. He defended the policy of not imposing sanctions on Russia, but insisted that Belgrade continued to aspire to EU membership.
“We are going to live one of the most difficult springs of all time, from a political and military point of view”, Vucic said in the city of Kraljevo, while touring central Serbia. “We have to protect ourselves, by taking care of our citizens, by preserving peace, by talking to people, by investing and by increasing our GDP”, he added.
Vucic described the situation in the world as “very nervous,” noting that Chinese President Xi Jinping has said his country should be “prepared for war” and that President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus asked for a truth in Ukraine.
“The situation is complicated and becoming more and more difficult” Vucic said, describing great power relations as “more and more complex, in a direct way.” As for the conflict in Ukraine, he said that it showed no signs of ending, but that Ukrainians and Russians “seemed in a hurry.”
Addressing those who demanded that Belgrade join US-EU sanctions against Russia, Vucic said he considered his stance correct and in Serbia’s interest.
“As the president of an independent, free and freedom-loving country, I don’t care about justifying myself to anyone,” he said.
Serbia, he said, is a small country that must find its place in the sun and preserve its independence and sovereignty. He noted that some countries oppose Serbia’s trade with China, while having a much larger volume of trade with Beijing. “But it comes down to ‘what Jupiter is allowed, an ox isn’t,’ and we’re used to such an attitude now,” Vucic added.
The Serbian President has previously argued that it was almost impossible for Ukraine to win in the conflict with Russia, and insisted on maintaining his country’s military neutrality. The EU has, however, sought to pressure Belgrade into submission, including demands for sanctions against Moscow and recognition of the breakaway province of Kosovo in the road map for Serbia’s joining the bloc.
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