MOSCOW, October 29 /TASS/. Russia highly appreciates its partnership with Serbia and respects Belgrade’s official stance of not joining the European Union’s sanctions against Russia, Sergey Zheleznyak, the Russian State Duma vice-speaker and deputy secretary of the General Council of the United Russia Party, said at a meeting with representatives of the Democratic Party of Serbia.
"Russia thinks highly of the atmosphere of openness and partnership typical of relations between the two countries. We feel deep respect for the independent stance which Serbia demonstrated when it refused to support the EU decision to impose sanctions on Russia," Zheleznyak. According to him, the Serbian authorities’ position will enable the two states to "expand possibilities for mutually beneficial activities in various spheres which, in turn, will produce a positive impact on the socio-economic development of Serbia and Russia.
According to Zheleznyak, Moscow and Belgrade should maintain broad cooperation, including contacts between public and youth organizations and patriotic movements, in order to preserve sovereignty and independence and jointly resist attempts to disunite the two countries. "It is obvious that despite their whims political chameleons who are subordinate to the West will never succeed in breaking centuries-old historical, cultural and economic ties and friendship between our Slavic peoples," Zheleznyak stressed.
At the same time, he expressed his indignation over the gesture of the Ukrainian authorities who lodged a protest with the Serbian deputies and public figures over their three-day visit to Crimea.
"Kiev’s stance proves once again the impotence and instability of its regime whose policy of extermination of its own people in southeastern Ukraine has violated all possible norms of international law and cannot be a policy pursued by a civilized modern state," Zheleznyak stressed.
The eight-member Serbian delegation, comprising members of the Democratic Party of Serbia and the Serbian patriotic movement Dveri, has spent three days in Crimea. They visited the Crimean capital of Simferopol, the resort town of Yalta and the federal city of Sevastopol. All of them have received protest notes from Ukraine’s Ambassador to Serbia Oleg Aleksandrovich over their visit to Crimea.
"We believe that /Ukraine/ is unlikely to impose any sanctions against our (Serbian) state. But the sanctions can be imposed against members of our delegation. Perhaps, we will be banned access to the Ukrainian embassy. We may be announced persona non grata in Ukraine. But it does not matter for us. It is important that we are going to develop relations with Russia," Sandra Raskovic Ivic told TASS.
She confirmed receiving the protest note from the Ukrainian ambassador in connection with the visit to Ukraine. Ukraine also sent a protest note to Dveri’s leader Bosko Obradovic.
"If it (Ukraine’s sanctions) means that we are friends of Russia, we are going to be extremely happy," Obradovic said commenting on Ukraine’s possible sanctions.
He has replied to the Ukrainian protest. "In a reply which I sent to them I said that Crimea is part of Russia just like Kosovo is part of Serbia. We disagree with our government’s position in this respect. We consider such state of things and our government’s stance to be a sign of disrespect for Russia’s territorial integrity," Obradovic said at a meeting with deputies of the Crimean parliament.