Lavrov and Putin's MiGs "not arriving in Belgrade together"
Aleksandr Chepurin says the upcoming visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Serbia is part of the regular dialogue between Belgrade and Moscow.Source: Beta
The Russian ambassador confirmed that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev would also visit Belgrade.
Chepurin spoke for Radio Belgrade to say that Medvedev had accepted the invitation of Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, but could not specify the date of the visit.
"To us, Serbia is not just one of 200 countries of the world, and we are not indifferent to the fate of Serbia. I can say that the stability of the region has a special importance to us, and we support Serbia on several issues, such as the issue of Kosovo and the Serb Republic," he said, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lavrov have good knowledge of the Balkans.
Chepurin added that while in Belgrade, Lavrov would be received by Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vuci, and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic.
The Russian ambassador also said he believes the South Stream pipeline project is "not dead," and noted "Putin's MiGs," i.e., the jets that Serbia will buy from Russia, "are not coming with Sergei Lavrov."
Chepurin said that his country had nothing to do with the formation of the government in Serbia, but that he was not aware of any "anti-Russian people" in that government.
"Russia does not intend to lecture anyone, give our marks and impose our values. The Serbian people know best what is good for them," said Chepurin.
The ambassador also noted that Russia respects Serbia's military neutrality, and treats the issue with respect and understanding.
"Russia is committed to peace and stability in the Balkans and Russia does not like a policy that aims to bring discord among Slavic peoples," he said.
As for NATO "in its current form" Chepurin described it as "a rudiment of a past when the alliance was directed against the Soviet Union" while is now necessary to build relationships in a new way, "as Putin has said."
"NATO is already a thing of the past and can now only catch some small fish into its net," said Chepurin.
According to the Russian ambassador, his country supports close and friendly relations with the Serb Republic - the Serb entity in Bosnia-Herzegovina - and its president.
"On the issue of Montenegro, I am not clear about the goal of the authorities to destroy the centuries-old brotherhood between the two nations, undermine trade relations with Russia, deteriorate own security. This is some kind of pathology and on the issue of Montenegro I would cite the old Russian proverb, 'to spit against the wind','' said Chepurin.
The diplomat also said that recent elections in the United States, Bulgaria, Moldova, as well as Brexit show a trend of changes and represent a fiasco of the old elites, as new leaders are coming to the scene.