Moscow reacts to Croat Kiev trip, recalls 250k Serb refugees

Moscow has "noted the contacts" between several former Croatian officials - now members of a government working group - and Ukrainian authorities.

Source: B92, Tanjug
(Tanjug/AP, file)
(Tanjug/AP, file)

This is according to a statement published last week by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"Former Croatian Minister of Justice Vesna Skare-Ozbolt, former Deputy Interior Minister Josko Moric and former Head of the Directorate for Expellees, Returnees, and Refugees Lovre Pejkovic arrived in Kiev from Zagreb at the end of August," the statement said, and added:

"Judging by the information available from the media, the issues discussed at the meetings included the 'return of occupied territories' based on Croatia’s experience of the 1990s. That experience is more than controversial, it is negative, to put it bluntly. Suffice it to recall the approximately 250,000 Serbian refugees, forced out of Croatia by the military operations carried out by Zagreb in 1995, and the numerous civilian casualties."

Regretfully, continued the Russian MFA, their assurances of “good intentions” and “the need to restore mutual trust” in the conflict areas were used as "a guise to make dangerous statements about 'compulsion' and the 'acceptability' of certain 'methods of peaceful reintegration'."

"Of considerable concern is the fact that Kiev seems eager to pick up on such signals, demonstratively ignoring its own clearly stated obligations under the Minsk Package of Measures. Therefore, any mention of scenarios for Donbass involving force would be especially damaging and immoral now, in the first days of the 'school truce' confirmed in the Normandy format," the statement said, and concluded:

"Guided by our desire to develop friendly relations with Croatia, we urge Zagreb to use every opportunity to encourage Kiev to consistently and unswervingly implement the Minsk Agreements in the interests of expediting the peaceful settlement of the domestic Ukrainian crisis, and the durable stabilization of southeastern Ukraine."

Croatian agency Hina said in a report quoted by Tanjug that members of the Croatian government's working group for cooperation between Croatia and Ukraine had traveled to Kiev on a two-day working visit and presented "the Croatian model for successful and peaceful reintegration of Ukrainian territory."

The report said that the working group's members told a news conference at the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday that Croatia was "doing nothing outside the Minsk process and has no hidden agenda."

Last year, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic made an offer to "transfer peaceful reintegration experiences" to Ukraine - causing Moscow to react and advise Croatia to instead "tackle its own deep-rooted problems."


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