Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko, newly appointed Russian ambassador to Belgrade, has told N1 on Thursday that Russia sees Serbia as a link between the West and Moscow, adding the free trade agreement between Serbia and Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) was expected to be signed on October 25.
He added that Serbia’s road to the European Union should not distant the country from EAEU.
Botsan-Kharchenko also said that EU candidates should not face Brussels or Moscow choice.
“It’s a pity that the candidate countries are told to choose between the EU and Russia. That’s an unfair and unjust message,” the ambassador said.
"The Euro-integration now becomes an obstacle in cooperation between some countries and Russia. I believe that won’t be the case with Serbia,” the ambassador said, adding that “in the past, there was successful and fruitful cooperation without any hindrance with the candidate countries which are now the member states.”
Regarding the role of Serbia, Botsan-Kharchenko said that Belgrade could become a link in relations between the EU and Russia.
“Serbia in a way has opted to be that link, developing balanced cooperation,” the ambassador said, adding that the whole Western Balkans cooperated with both the West and Russia and other countries like China “which is increasingly present in the region.”
Speaking about Moscow’s view on the Kosovo issue, Botsan-Kharchenko said that outgoing Kosovo’s Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj’s statement about Moscow advocating the division of Kosovo was “ridiculous.”
The ambassador said that option “has never officially been on the table.”
According to him, Russia wants the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue on the normalisation of relations to resume and in case that Belgrade asks, Moscow will support it “within the international law’s framework.”