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02 August 2022, 13:35

Lukashenko cautions Serbia against ‘sitting in three chairs'

MINSK, 2 August (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko commented on the aggravation of the situation in Serbia and spoke about the possibility of supporting this country as he talked to journalists, BelTA has learned.

"We need to differentiate between the leadership and ordinary people. If you were in my shoes, how would you see it all? Of course, we need to help the Serbian people and we will. We are this kind of people. But we take into account Serbia's policy towards Belarus. They want to sit, as they say, in three chairs but they will not succeed. Here's we, Russia, the EU, the U.S. and so on… They want to be good to everyone. They will not be given this chance to balance, above all by the European Unions which they are so eager to join," the president said.

When asked what Belarus can do for Serbia, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that he had this issue in mind earlier: "I don't know what we can do for them. First of all, I would look at what they did when Belarus faced sanctions. I don't want to dredge up the recent past, but take a look..."

The president recalled that he visited Serbia in 1999 actually under the bombing of NATO. "I went there risking my life ... It was really dangerous. NATO (already on their bombing mission there) directed us to use the height of 500m (this is the height for a helicopter). They thought I wouldn't go and fly back home. But I ordered the pilots to fly at 500m. Of course, they could shoot down the plane, but they did not dare. That would be an extraordinary case. I flew there under the bombing," the Belarusian head of state recalled those events.

He drew attention to the fact that a few years after that, the Serbian leadership joined some sanctions. "I'm thinking about it now. But, on the other hand, these are our kin people. Serbs are good, sensible people. Well, they were not lucky, probably, in some ways. Neither were some others," the president said.

As BelTA reported earlier, the international mission under the auspices of the North Atlantic Alliance in the self-proclaimed Kosovo (KFOR) announced its readiness to intervene in the situation on the border of Kosovo and Serbia if there are threats to stability in the region.

The situation in Kosovo escalated on 31 July. The conflict was triggered by the Kosovo police who blocked two crossing points into central Serbia. Serbs living in northern Kosovo staged protests, blocking main highways.

Earlier, Serbian leader Aleksandar Vucic stated that the situation in Kosovo had grown significantly complicated and complex for the Serbs. He also mentioned the plans of Kosovo to declare Serbian documents invalid as of 1 August.

Aleksandar Vucic urged not to give in to provocations and to prevent the conflict. The Serbian president also addressed the countries that have recognized Kosovo's independence: “I also ask the powerful and large countries that have recognized Kosovo's independence, to pay some attention to international law, to be more cautious with the reality on the ground and prevent their wards from causing conflict.” The Serbian leader assured that he would pray for peace, adding that capitulation was out of the question. According to Vucic, the country will not tolerate persecution and killing of the Serbs and will definitely prevail.

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