02:59 GMT06 March 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Macedonian parliament vote on country's name change, which took place on October 19, was held in violation of all existing norms, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

    "We regard what happened as an explicit violation of all norms — both in terms of law, and in terms of morality," the statement said.

    The ministry explained their stance:

    "The eight votes that the parliament lacked for securing the qualifying majority were received via blackmail, threats and bribes given to the opposition lawmakers… Notably, the US Ambassador [to Macedonia] was in the parliament building up to the end of the session, and this is why there is no doubt that he orchestrated the process," the ministry said in a statement.

    READ MORE: NATO, Macedonia Launch Accession Talks as Skopje Gets Closer to Renaming Country

    A total of 80 lawmakers out of 120 voted in favor of the name change securing the majority required to pass the bill. 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.

    READ MORE: Macedonian Parliament Passes Constitutional Amendments to Change Country's Name

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