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Russia should avoid becoming NATO's donor through North Macedonia — expert

Senior research fellow at the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Olenchenko said Russian leadership should strategically consider how to further develop relations with North Macedonia

MOSCOW, April 22. /TASS/. Moscow should think strategically about future economic cooperation with Skopje, where both presidential candidates competing in the second round of election support the country's accession to NATO and EU, senior research fellow at the Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations at the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Olenchenko told TASS on Monday.

According to preliminary estimates, Stevo Pendarovski from the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) is leading with 42.56% of votes. Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova from the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization — Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) received 41.74% of votes in the first round of the presidential election. Pendarovski supports European integration and accession to NATO. Siljanovska-Davkova, even though markedly more conservative, also supports the idea of joining the North Atlantic Alliance.

"Russian leadership and business should strategically consider how to further develop their relations with North Macedonia. There is an economic aspect to this issue, in addition to the political dimension," Olenchenko said. "Expanding trade and investment should be beneficial for all parties. In this case, benefits may end up with NATO, since Alliance's members are required to contribute 2% of their respective GDPs to NATO's budget," he added.

"Whether we want to become NATO's donors is the question to keep in mind when considering some aspects of bilateral relations," the expert noted.