"Russia helped build intl. rules, Russia will defend them"

Dmitry Rogozin said late on Wednesday in Belgrade that his country would continue to support Serbia on Kosovo, but that Russia was not Serbia's "advocate".

Source: RTS
Dmitry Rogozin (Beta)
Dmitry Rogozin (Beta)

"We are close friends, but Russia is not your advocate. We are advocates of truth and justice here," the Russian vice prime minister stated during an interview exclusive to Serbia's public broadcaster RTS.

Noting that justice in this case consists of Kosovo being an inalienable part of Serbia, and that Russia was there to defend international law, Rogozin added that his country was "in that sense certainly on the side of Serbia", and that Serbia "should maintain that position":

"Russia is not an advocate of Serbia, but an advocate of consistent international relations, for which we shed much of our blood. 27 million people died so that the system could be built. Russia will defend that system, and if you stick to that position, we will of course support you."

President Vladimir Putin recently called on Serbia to turn toward the East. However, Rogozin said that any interpretation of that statement asserting that Serbia had to choose between Russia and the EU was "speculation and provocation":

"As if we were prohibiting you from having a relationship with the EU, the EU has been our strategic partner and 55 percent of our foreign trade is happening precisely with the EU."

The Russian vice PM also advised Serbia to make one choice - "and that is to follow its own national interests":

"The ties with Russia for you mean an enormous market and enormous potential, but on the other hand, the ties with the EU have their own value and you should build on that - however, taking into account the hard lessons of the past. In other words, there is no 'either the EU or Russia' choice."

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