The recent visit of a delegation from the internationally unrecognized Republic of Crimea to Belgrade may provoke more dissatisfaction among Serbia’s Western allies, senior fellow in Carnegie’s Russia and Eurasia Program, Paul Stronski, told Voice of America.
Serbian officials did not make any statements regarding the visit of the Deputy Speaker of the Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, Crimean MP Natalia Poklonskaya, and Deputy Prime Minister of the Crimean Council and Permanent Representative of the President of Russia to Crimea, Georgy Muradov - who was invited to Serbia’s National Assembly on Thursday by the right-wing opposition party ‘Dveri’ and its leader, Bosko Obradovic.
Serbia officially does not recognise Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. However, a flag of the Republic of Crimea was set up in the National Assembly on Thursday.
"The protests from the Ukrainian Embassy in Serbia over the Crimean delegation's visit are not surprising and I’m sure this damages Serbia's reputation in the eyes of its international partners, which could provoke the anger among some of them,” Stronski said.
The issue may cause more difficulties, he said, adding that “the blame should not be put exclusively on the officials in power and the Serbian Government” as activities by the opposition “can not be controlled.”
Stronski pointed out that this case made it clear that there are structures within Serbia’s system which are not oriented toward the West and are not interested in international norms and law - which leaves them with an unfavourable impression in international relations.
“It is necessary for the Serbian Government to determine its position even more clearly,” he said, adding that it is not beneficial to the country to have part Serbia’s opposition use Crimea as a tool for their political battle against those in power.