As Kyiv and Belgrade squabbled over the statement of Ukrainian ambassador about Serbian mercenaries in Donbas, Serbia’s political circles show different attitudes and approaches to further bilateral relations.
Radio Liberty offered an insight into the issue, focusing on the commentaries from the Serbian side. The outlet quoted Serbian Foreign Ministry, which demanded that Ukraine’s Ambassador Oleksandr Olksandrovych abandon such ‘unacceptable stance’. Prime Minister Ivica Dacic reminded that ‘Serbia had taken a number of steps to prosecute its citizens who had fought abroad, including in Ukraine. And he sent his own zinger by noting that it was well known that Ukrainian mercenaries had taken part in "the crimes committed by Croatian forces against the Serb people in Croatia [during the 1990s], whom moreover Ukraine never officially condemned, unlike Serbia [in the case of Serbian fighters in Ukraine].’
Further, Radio Liberty cited Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin who asked the Serbian government to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Given the tough stance of Serbian foreign ministry and the country’s Radical Party, the outlet showed there is still certain balance of views inside Serbia. ‘Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who exerts control over domestic and foreign policy, would like to give the impression of staying above the fray and acting as the peacemaker. "Ukrainians are a friendly people to the Serbs, and I am convinced that we will resolve this quickly. I would refrain from commenting on any individual statements; the Serbian institutions are doing their job. It's important to defuse tensions and maintain our friendly relations. I will do everything in my power to achieve that,' Vucic said as quoted.
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