President Aleksandar Vucic said on Friday that Serbia is under pressure to quickly recognize Kosovo following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statements.
Vucic addressed the nation at a news conference to speak about the political and economic problems that official Belgrade is facing. The news conference was scheduled for last Friday but was postponed prior to his trip to Berlin and meetings with German government officials. There was speculation that Vucic could announce that Serbia was joining in the sanctions against Russia but that did not happen.
Vucic spent several minutes trying to explain what Putin meant when he told UN Secretary General Antonio Guteres that a precedent had been set by the International Court of Justice when it ruled on Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence and that parts of Ukraine bordering Russia could declare independence. He said that Western officials are now trying to ruin Putin’s argument by saying that Kosovo and the Donbas region are different cases.
“We are now in a problem because the West will call Serbia to head quickly towards recognizing Kosovo so that they can tell Putin that the Donbas and Kosovo are not about the same issue,” he said and added that Kosovo will be the dominant issue in future. “Let me tell you right now, all European leaders told me that Putin insisted on the Kosovo case in talks with them.” he said.
Vucic said that he does not expect Russia to recognize Kosovo and added that Serbia is paying a high price for not imposing sanctions on Russia.
The Serbian president warned that the country is “100 percent dependent on Russian gas and will continue to be so for at least two more years”. He said that talks are underway with Russia’s Gazprom on the purchase of natural gas, adding that a deal has to be signed by the end of May.
According to Vucic, Serbia is on the road to Europe and will continue down that road more strongly.