Moscow’s traditional Balkan ally says the text of resolution ‘does not mention any sanctions’ and that it is important to condemn attacks on the territorial integrity of any UN member state.

Serbia Backs UN Resolution Condemning Russian Attack on Ukraine

Serbian permanent representative Nemanja Stevanovic during the speech in UN General Assembly. Screenshot:

Russia’s traditional Balkan ally Serbia voted in favour of Wednesday’s UN General Assembly resolution, condemning its attack on Ukraine, despite longstanding ties between Moscow and Belgrade.

Serbia’s UN permanent representative, Nemanja Stevanovic, said his country was “committed to observing the principles of territorial integrity and political independence of states”.

“Just like it is committed to preserving the sovereignty and integrity of its own territory, the Republic of Serbia likewise advocates respect for the territorial integrity of other sovereign nations and, regardless of not agreeing with all formulations stated in the resolution, we will vote in favour of the resolution,” Stevanovic said ahead of the vote.

The vote was 141 in favour, 5 against and 35 abstentions.

China abstained and Russia, Syria, North Korea, Eritrea and Belarus voted against the resolution. While General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, they carry political weight.

In his address after the UN session, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said Serbia had faced a dilemma, given its experience of being attacked in 1999 by NATO over the conflict in the then province of Kosovo.

“Serbia is facing enormous pressure in which the question is not whether you can endure something as an individual or not, but if you are faced with the fact that few people want to hear your arguments – what happened in ‘99 [when NATO bombed Yugoslavia], then you know how difficult our position is,” he said.

He added: “We explained [before the vote] that this is not the first war and the first conflict and the first attack on the territory of modern Europe, … [but] the text does not mention any sanctions, and it is very important that we condemn the collapse of the territorial integrity of any [UN] member state.”

All other Southeast European countries voted in favour of the UN resolution.

Besides its strong ties with Russia – which opposed NATO’s air war against Serbia in 1999 – Serbia relies heavily for energy on Moscow.

Like Serbia, Russia does not recognise the independence of Kosovo, and, as Moscow holds veto powers as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, it can block Kosovo from joining the UN.

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