Serbs Outraged by Disruption of Lavrov's Visit, Russian Ambassador Says

© Sputnik / Alexandar Djorovic / Go to the photo bankA rally in support of Russia in Serbia's Belgrade, 13 March 2022
A rally in support of Russia in Serbia's Belgrade, 13 March 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.06.2022
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The disruption of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's visit to Belgrade after Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro denied passage to his plane has caused a public outcry in Serbia, as people were looking forward to receiving the top diplomat, Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko said on Tuesday.
On Monday, Botsan-Kharchenko informed Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic that Lavrov's visit to Belgrade, scheduled for 6-7 June, was canceled as the countries neighbouring Serbia closed their airspace for the minister's plane.

"You cannot imagine the kind of resentment the actions of the West caused among the Serbian population and what started. Sergey Viktorovich [Lavrov] was expected here, he is very much loved, he is very popular and respected in Serbia. He would have been very well [received] here. People were preparing events, on their own, without any instruction to support Russia, out foreign minister, our leadership, the Russian president," Botsan-Kharchenko told the Rossiya 24 broadcaster.

On Sunday, Serbian daily newspaper Vecernje novosti (Evening news) published photos of what it said were the orders signed by the foreign ministers of Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro to close their airspace to Lavrov.
© Sputnik / Evgeniy Biyatov / Go to the photo bankRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.06.2022
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
On Monday, the information was confirmed by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, who said that the EU and NATO demonstrated that they were yet again trying to close Moscow's channels of communication. Lavrov echoed her statement later in the day, calling the situation around his visit to Serbia unthinkable and saying that he pitied the countries involved in the incident as they were effectively the servants of the West.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price called this decision "Europe's commitment to hold Russia accountable" for the military operation in Ukraine launched after the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk appealed for help in defending themselves against Ukrainian forces.
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