"Russophobic" EU countries and the "vortex of sanctions being promoted by Brussels" are an obstacle to stronger Russian-Croatian relations, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Vecernji List's Tuesday edition.
The interview was held when all details of his visit to Croatia, the first in 15 years, had been agreed and which should have taken place today.
The visit was to have included a meeting with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, President Zoran Milanovic and Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman. However, it was postponed due to the spread of coronavirus in Croatia, which has affected the Russian Embassy staff in Zagreb too.
In the interview, Lavrov said Russian-Croatian political and economic relations were on an upward trend. However, he claimed, the sanctions being promoted by Brussels remain a serious obstacle to the further strengthening of Russian-Croatian ties.
Speaking of the LNG terminal project off Krk island, Lavrov said that was strictly a Croatian matter. "If our Croatian colleagues believe that the economy should buy liquefied, not cheaper pipeline gas, that's your concern," he was quoted as saying, adding that gas contracts with Russia only had a commercial backdrop and not political.
Lavrov said the Russian approach to Bosnia and Herzegovina was in line with Croatia's, which is interested in the realisation of the fundamental postulates of the Dayton peace agreement, and that Russia was willing to extend support in that sense.
"We are confident that the Dayton agreement remains current. Its fundamental principles facilitate keeping peace and stability, the country's safe development," he was quoted as saying.
Lavrov said that recently Washington and numerous EU capitals had doubled their efforts to stop Russian development. "It has become a habit for the West to talk to Russia as if it were to blame for everything. It's enough to mention Berlin's conceited refusal to answer our chief prosecutor's demands in the so-called Navalny case," he was quoted as saying.
Russian minister is expected in Belgarde for a two-day visit on Wednesday and Thursday.