No contact with Russian officials since the beginning of the attack on Ukraine
“As for the personal contacts, since the conflict started and the attack on Ukraine began, I did not have a single contact with any of the Russian officials, so I am not sure what I should distance myself from and exactly do”.
The President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić has recently met with German Foreign Affairs Minister Annalena Baerbock in Belgrade. In addition to relations between Serbia and Germany, they talked about the region and Ukraine.
Among other, in the press conference, Vučić underlined that Serbia adheres to international law norms.
“President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić stated today that since the beginning of the attack on Ukraine, he did not have a single personal contact with Russian officials, so there is no need to detach from anything since Serbia’s position towards Ukraine is clear. This was how Vučić responded to the German news agency DPA journalist’s question to German Foreign Affairs Minister Annalena Baerbock on whether she had received signals from Vučić that he would be ready to detach from Vladimir Putin, which would positively reflect on Serbia’s negotiations with the EU.” (Source: RTV, Tanjug)
“As for the personal contacts, since the beginning of the conflict and attack on Ukraine, I did not have a single contact with Russian officials, so I am not sure what I should distance myself from and exactly do”, stated President on that day.
However, since the beginning of the war in Ukraine on 24 February, Vučić had met with (at least) one Russian official. According to media statements, and the official website predsednik.rs, the meeting with the Russian ambassador happened on 6 March.
Today, the President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić has received the Russian Federation ambassador Alexander Bocan Harchenko. President Vučić and Ambassador Bocan Harchenko have spoken about the situation in Ukraine. On this occasion, the President informed the ambassador of the Republic of Serbia and National Security Council positions, which include adherence of our country to the norms of international public law. (Source: predsednik.rs, 6 March 2022)
In fact, two days earlier, he had a meeting with the Ukrainian Ambassador Alexander Alexandrovich. In the meantime, the Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev’s visit was cancelled, who was scheduled to come to Belgrade on 28 February, as reported by media outlets.
Because he met in person with the Russian ambassador, several days before the meeting with the head of the German Foreign Office, Vučić’s statement that he had no contact with Russian officials get the score of pants on fire.