Published: Sat, January 19, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Serbia rolls out red carpet as tens of thousands greet Putin

Serbia rolls out red carpet as tens of thousands greet Putin

"First of all, I have in mind their December 14 decision to form a so-called Kosovo army", Putin said.

Like most of the Serb minority in Kosovo, Ivanovic did not recognise Kosovo's sovereignty.

"This resolution does not allow the existence of any armed formations in Kosovo other than the contingency of the United Nations".

Graffiti reading "Kosovo is Serbia, Crimea is Russia" can sometimes be spotted on streets in Serbia.

"We know that the European Union has acted as a mediator in resolving a number of issues, but unfortunately hardly anything has been implemented", he said. Both leaders are keen to sign a deal despite widespread opposition among their populations and unease among much of the global community about redrawing borders.

In reality, 75 percent of donations come from the European Union or its member states, while Russian Federation doesn't make the top nine.

"Russia is using a pipeline project, Nord Stream 2, and the multiline Turkish stream, to try to solidify its control over the security and the stability of Central and Eastern Europe", Energy Secretary Rick Perry said last November in Prague.

"Welcome honored President Putin, dear friend", read one of them.

Ahead of his Belgrade visit, Mr Putin accused some Western countries of "destabilising" the Balkans.

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Traffic in downtown Belgrade was completely blocked for hours because of the crowds and the parked buses.

Putin's visit comes as thousands have held weekly demonstrations against Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic because of what they see as autocratic rule.

However, the unilateral partition of Kosovo is clearly unacceptable to Pristina, which led to Kosovo's President Hashim Thaçi proposing "corrections of borders" that would reportedly involve a land swap between the two countries: exchanging Serb-populated territories in northern Kosovo for the Albanian-majority Preševo Valley in Serbia (European Western Balkans, August 26, 2018).

Moscow was unable to prevent Montenegro from joining North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in 2017, a goal which Macedonia is also moving towards after ratifying a name change deal to end a decades-long dispute with Greece.

Like Montenegro, Macedonia was part of Yugoslavia until the country disintegrated amid the wars of the early 1990s.

In a ceremony, Putin presented Vučić with the Order of Alexander Nevsky, which in the past has been awarded to the autocratic leaders of Kremlin-friendly, post-Soviet countries.

Speaking during the visit, Vucic said that "Without is clear that there will be no solution" over Kosovo.

Apparently referring to the Kosovo problem, he said that he told the Russian leader that Serbia is always ready for talks and compromises, but that he could not and would not agree to his country being humiliated.

Also under discussion will be strengthening bilateral relations and cooperation in economic spheres such as energy, trade, innovation, technological development, and the digital economy, he said.

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