Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow will continue to provide natural gas to Serbia on terms favorable to its ally
SOCHI, Russia — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Moscow will continue to provide natural gas to Serbia on terms favorable to its ally.
Putin expressed confidence that a new contract for gas supply to Serbia would be signed, which would replace the contract expiring at the end of the current year.
“We will find a solution that will certainly be acceptable to our Serbian friends,” Putin said at the start of talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic at his Black Sea residence in Sochi.
Putin also said that Russia would continue to staunchly support Serbia amid recent tensions with Kosovo.
“We support your position on the Kosovo Accords, and I hope that the situation will eventually develop in a way that is in line with the interests of everyone living in the region,” he said.
Kosovo was a Serb province until the 1998–1999 rebellion by ethnic Albanian rebels led to a bloody Serbian crackdown. This prompted NATO to launch a 78-day bombing campaign to drive out Serbian troops from Kosovo. More than 10,000 people were killed in the war. Kosovo declared independence in 2008, but Serbia did not recognize it. Kosovo-Serbia relations remain tense despite talks facilitated by the European Union over the past decade to normalize it.
Vucic appreciated the close ties between Serbia and Russia, and particularly noted the high level of defense cooperation.
Although formally seeking EU membership, Serbia has refused to align its foreign policies with those of the 27-nation bloc and has instead strengthened its alliances with Russia and China.