Croatian president calls PM ‘Ukrainian agent’
Croatian President Zoran Milanovic accused his Prime Minister Andrey Plenkovic of behaving like a "Ukrainian agent" on Friday, two days after the latter apologized to Kiev over the head-of-state’s comments on NATO deployments.
In a televised address on Tuesday, Milanovic said Zagreb would withhold its troops from Eastern European NATO contingents if the situation on the Ukraine-Russia border spirals into a full-blown conflict.
On Wednesday, Plenkovic dismissed the president’s statement as “nonsense,” claiming that the Croatian contingent stationed in Poland had already returned and apologized to the Ukrainian people.
Milanovic, the commander-in-chief, hit back in an interview with Zagreb’s RTL TV, suggesting that Plenkovic’s loyalties appear to be misplaced.
Let him apologize. He acts like a Ukrainian agent, and I act like a Croatian president. That’s a huge difference.
Asked if he feels the need to apologize, Milanovic said, “No way. I think the prime minister is an ordinary poltron who goes where he doesn’t belong... All I’m interested in is the Croatian interest,” he added.
In his statement on Tuesday, the president accused the US of agitating the geopolitical situation in the region amid a Russian military buildup near Ukraine’s border. “This has nothing to do with Ukraine or Russia. It has to do with the dynamics of American domestic politics.”
Milanovic claimed he is trying to steer Croatia clear of a potentially disastrous conflagration involving Russia. The Croatian leader said Ukraine must start solving “the problem” it has with the “separatists” in the country’s east through negotiations, noting that Moscow has not recognized the breakaway republics.
He added that Kiev should “not constantly confront the thermonuclear and hypersonic power, Russia. It is not Serbia. Whoever encourages them to do so is a dangerous charlatan, and there are many in Europe.”
Milanovic’s comments on NATO have earned him a place on Kiev’s “Peacemaker” database for “anti-Ukrainian activity,” and he’s been accused of justifying “Russian aggression.” He told RTL TV that he’s “neither a Ukrainian enemy nor a Russian friend” but is rather focused on the wellbeing of his own country.