According to the representative of the US State Department, the decision of Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro to close the skies for Lavrov's aircraft is sovereign and reflects the “determination of Europe” in confronting “Russian aggression” in Ukraine
US State Department Press Secretary Ned Price
Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro's decision not to allow the plane carrying Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov through their airspace to Serbia was independent, said US State Department spokesman Ned Price.
“It was a sovereign decision regarding the airspace of these three sovereign countries. It reflects Europe's determination to hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked and unjustified aggression in Ukraine. he said.
Price urged Serbia to focus on achieving its goal of EU accession, including “synchronizing” foreign and defense policy with the rest of Europe.
Lavrov's visit to Serbia was supposed to take place on June 6-7, but on June 5, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Montenegro, Bulgaria and North Macedonia decided not to let the minister's government plane through. Lavrov called the incident unthinkable and expressed the opinion that Serbia had been deprived of the right to conduct an independent foreign policy towards Russia.
The decision to deny access to Lavrov's plane was made due to the sanctions imposed against it, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry explained. The European Union imposed sanctions against the Russian Foreign Minister at the end of February.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that Serbia was not surprised by the position of the Balkan neighbors, as Belgrade “infinitely” persuaded not to accept Lavrov. Earlier, he said that Serbia intends to resist the imposition of sanctions against Russia “for as long as it can.”
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