MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The United States, not Russia, is meddling in the Macedonian internal affairs resorting to bribery and blackmail, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.
"I would like to remind that it was the United States, not Russia, on October 19, which through absolutely unscrupulous methods, namely blackmail, threats, bribing lawmakers, promoted decisions in the parliament of this country about the start of procedures for amending the Macedonian constitution. It was the US ambassador to Skopje, who was in the building of the Macedonian parliament and managed this process," Zakharova said at a press briefing.
The senior Russian diplomat added that not Russia, but Macedonian voters were against the deal with Greece, which is proved by the low turnout during the referendum on the issue.
On Friday, the Macedonian parliament passed amendments to the national constitution that allows the country to change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia in accordance with the recently reached deal with Greece. US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer arrived in Macedonia on October 22 and praised the parliament's decision calling it "essential for Macedonia’s path towards the European Union and NATO." He also slammed Russia for its alleged interference in Macedonian affairs.
The new name will allow the Balkan state to join NATO and the European Union, the process that Greece has been blocking over fears that the former Yugoslav republic might try to claim its region under the same name. The agreement on changing Macedonia's name was signed by Athens and Skopje in June.