Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has lashed out at attempts by the United States to accuse the Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center in the Serbian city of Nis of spying, branding them utterly absurd.
“There were some absolutely inconceivable, absurd, far-fetched accusations in the worst traditions of the Cold War. They are talking about an alleged Russian spy nest in the Balkans, which can supposedly put the US contingent in Kosovo in jeopardy,” she said on Thursday (June 22) commenting on statements by some US officials.
United States deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, Hoyt Brian Yee, said the US was concerned about the centre, “not so much for what it is now, but what it might become if it receives what Russia has been asking from Serbia, which is some kind of special status, a protected diplomatic status or immunity,” reported VOA
Russia has denied it wants to create a military installation in Serbia.
“It’s a funny story,” Viacheslav Vlasenko, the centres’s co-director, told Euronews. “I commented on this many, many times. After you will see our centre it is practically nonsense to open a military base here. And after the various rumours, about this military base, spy centre etc. in some newspapers or agencies, we took countermeasures and opened this center for everybody.”
Vlasenko showed Euronews around the disaster relief centre, including various equipment intended for humanitarian aid, such as tents, aggregates, field beds, and diving equipment.
Viacheslav Vlasenko, head of the Russian Mission to Serbia told Euronews that his work is to take care of the success and effectiveness of this mission to Serbia.
“Serbia for the time being needs such centre,” said Vlasenko.
“And this is very unique structure and we are trying to avoid any political influence and we are trying to do our job in the best way, best professional way.”
Former prime minister of Serbia Zoran Zivkovic opposes Serbia’s flirtation with Moscow.
“The role of this centre is a question for various authorities that want to play the role of Tito and be in good relations with the East and the West. With Brussels, Washington and Moscow. And since the whole policy is focused towards the European Union, someone probably thinks that it is good if we have Moscow as well. Moscow’s interest is that Serbia stays a little rock in the shoe of Europe or America.”
The future of this centre remains uncertain. However, it is known that Russia has its own interests in this region which do have long historical genesis. The peoples of the Balkan countries feel the Russian Slavic and Orthodox culture very close to their own up until the moment when it starts to obstruct the European perspectives – the road that the majority of citizens of all the countries in this region choose for themselves.
The Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center was established under an agreement between the Russian and Serbian governments on April 25, 2012, signed in Nis by Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov and then Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic. The legal basis for establishing the center was an agreement between the two countries’ governments on cooperation in humanitarian emergency response, prevention of natural disasters and man-made accidents and disaster aftermath clean-ups
MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) June 22, 2017
20committee</a> I'm gonna bang on about Nis, Serbia & Russian base of influence; would threaten Kotor port-then ITALY. <a href="https://t.co/OENMKsHQAm">https://t.co/OENMKsHQAm</a></p>— Dr. Gary McKay (theradardude) December 12, 2016