EU candidate accuses West of hypocrisy
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has said his “guts turn” when he hears Western countries talk about their respect for the territorial integrity of Ukraine, while simultaneously insisting on the independence of the Serbian breakaway region of Kosovo.
During a Sunday broadcast on Prva TV, Vucic claimed there were no principles in modern international politics and accused the West of double standards and hypocrisy when it comes to the Ukraine and Kosovo conflicts. Serbia is a candidate for EU membership.
Belgrade does not recognize Kosovo’s 2008 self-declaration of independence and considers the territory to be a Serbian province. Nearly 100 countries, including the US – but not Russia – have recognized the independence of the region.
“My guts turn when I hear about the principles and respect for territorial integrity. They (the Western countries) ask us to respect someone’s integrity, and what about ours?” said Vucic.
As the G7 pledged that it would never accept the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the Serbian government will continue to insist on the same principle for its own country, Vucic argued.
“For Serbia to give up its integrity, it can only happen with a gun to the forehead, and not to us but to our children,” he stressed.
The Serbian leader also questioned why, if Russia is really committing terrible crimes in Ukraine, NATO is not bombing it as it did in former Yugoslavia in 1999.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said last month that Moscow’s move to recognize the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk was based on the Kosovo precedent.
Russia attacked its neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.
Belgrade has taken a neutral stance in relation to the conflict, with Vucic vowing to punish Serbs if they attempt to fight on either side.