"Ambassador's unbelievable meddling, Russian manipulation"
Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Chepurin's statement about the recent visit here of US State Department official Hoyt Yee has provoked numerous reactions.
"(...) the guest who arrived in Serbia is the 75th deputy of the 24th assistant to a deputy to the foreign minster. (...) this is why the attention paid to the visit was exaggerated," Chepurin told Sputnik.
What is it that really bothers the Russian ambassador?
"As a diplomat, he can, but doesn't have to say that," says Ljubinka Milincic, editor of Sputnik's Serbian language edition, who interviewed Chepurin.
"But the point here is that (Yee's) messages were directed against Russia, and Russia is reacting to that, I think that's the essence," she told the O2 broadcaster, and added:
"We only received that kind of messages when they threatened Milosevic that they would level us to the ground, during the (NATO) bombing."
But Director of the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies NGO Jelena Milic says she was shocked by the Russian ambassador's statements, and considers this to be a Russian manipulation.
"What the ambassador demonstrated is unbelievable meddling, not merely a message about how the allegedly independent Serbia, that is on the road to the EU, should behave. I am shocked by the fact that a more strong reaction from state and other political and public actors is missing," she told O2.
But there have been reactions. The leader of the opposition LDP Cedomir Jovanovic said that "destabilization of the region, support for nationalists, and the return to the 1990s is the Russian platform that is supposed to serve for a showdown with the West, contrary to Serbia's interests."
Another opposition party, the LSV, has asked Serbia's state organs to react, adding that the country had no plans to become a Russian province.