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Envoy says reports of ‘Russian trace’ in Belgrade protests absurd

According to the diplomat, it is regrettable that "an organization that pretends to be a ‘center for studies’" acts as an instigator for propaganda of the so-called Russian threat, while "ditching all standards of professionalism and objectivity"
Protests in Belgrade AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic
Protests in Belgrade
© AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic

BELGRADE, July 9. /TASS/. Allegations, made by the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies (CEAS) in Belgrade, that Russia is involved in riots in Belgrade are absurd, Russia Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko said Thursday.

"Although making absurd, ungrounded allegations against Russia is not a rarity for the CEAS, it is still surprising, how distorted the perception of reality could be in the ‘experts’ who managed to find a ‘Russian trace’ in riots in Serbia," the envoy tweeted.

According to the diplomat, it is regrettable that "an organization that pretends to be a ‘center for studies’" acts as an instigator for propaganda of the so-called Russian threat, while "ditching all standards of professionalism and objectivity."

"It is even more regrettable that their fabrications were thoughtlessly echoed by a number of the media in the country," the envoy said.

The riots in Belgrade began on July 7. According to the police and the medics, 96 people - 62 policemen and 34 protesters - were injured during two days of the protests; 23 people were apprehended, and five police cars were burned.

The protests were covered by N1 TV channel - a regional daughter company of the CNN. The TV channel aired a footage of a woman who called herself a Russian citizen and who claimed that she "fights against the dictatorship of [President Aleksandar] Vucic."

The CEAS, which advocates Serbia’s accession to NATO, characterized this fact as "Russian trace in the organization of the protests."

President Vucic also speculated that the protests were organized by foreign intelligence services, but he pointed out that those services belong to the states of the region. According to Serbian national television, citizens of Israel and Kyrgyzstan were apprehended for rioting Thursday. Meanwhile, the Alo! newspaper reported that mercenaries from the former Blackwater private military corporation, who previously fought in eastern Ukraine, also participated in the Belgrade protests.