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US uses anti-Russian rhetoric to justify interference in Macedonia — foreign ministry

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the United States is trying to pull Macedonia into NATO "against the will of its citizens, as it happened with Montenegro in 2017"

MOSCOW, December 21. /TASS/. The United States is trying to justify interference into Macedonia's internal affairs and pulling the country into NATO by statements about alleged attempts by Russia to disrupt the Balkan country's accession to the North Atlantic Alliance, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Friday.

During his visit to Skopje on December 18, US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan said that Russia hampers Macedonia's accession to NATO.

"By using ungrounded anto-Russian rhetoric, Washington is trying to justify its flagrant interference into Macedonia's internal affairs, legitimize the defective Prespa agreement and pull another Balkan country into NATO against the will of its citizens, as it happened with Montenegro in 2017," the foreign ministry said. "One would want to bring US politicians back to reality. First of all, the 'clear will of Macedonian citizens' was demonstrated by a failed referendum in the Balkan republic on September 30, when the majority of people refuted the attempts of the US and their allies to pull Skopje into Euro-Atlantic structures in exchange for reforming the country's state name and making it give up its national interests," the ministry added.

The Russian Foreign Ministry noted that the US ambassador was present in the building of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia "to ensure necessary results by using dirty manipulations, bribing and blackmailing lawmakers, which became known to the public."

"Moreover, not Russian, but US, EU and NATO visitors replaced each other practically every day on the political stage in Skopje in order to promote the package of constitutional amendments," the foreign ministry said.