Small countries in the global The Skripal’s case: A View from Serbia

Serbian national assembly, skupstina

Serbia is one of the small European countries that refused to expel Russian diplomats, just as it had not previously imposed anti-Russian sanctions. This decision of the leadership was voiced immediately and without hesitation. Now analysts in Belgrade are interested in the question of how Serbia, which in many ways relies on Russia as a historical partner and ally, but at the same time a candidate for EU membership, will be able to maneuver in an uneasy geopolitical situation.

“Serbia does not act on orders, we are guided by our interests and it is in the interests of Serbia to uncover the truth about what happened.” Serbia will not automatically make decisions that would mean the destruction of friendly relations with Russia, China and other countries, ” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dačić.

The position of Belgrade was also confirmed by President Aleksandar Vučić in a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

The same decision is followed by Bosnia and Herzegovina and Bulgaria, while Croatia, Montenegro and Macedonia have expelled one or more Russian diplomats.

Serbian foreign policy analyst Bosko Jakšić in a interview to the Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) said that many small countries are under Western pressure or are trying to please Washington themselves.

“The biggest problem is that the small countries are between a hammer and an anvil, the moment we deviate to the east we receive condemnation from the west, and vice versa. It’s much easier for those countries that have decided on the allies that defend them, ” Jakšić said.

Undecided nations remain “free floating in an ocean of global geopolitics, and the chance that they wont go under a wave are negligible”, he adds.

“For example, US is trying to surround a country it views as undesirable for itself”, explains Slobodan Zečević of the Institute for European Studies. “This limits the ability of smaller countries to maneuver freely”

UK has demanded we join in diplomatic sanctions, but as we are not engaged in economic ones, refusal was only logical. Russia is an important partner that protects our interests in the UN” Zečević said.

Serbian analysts consider the announced meeting between president Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin a “good sign”, indicating that the tensions are dropping.

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