Serbian minister calls for sanctions against Russia

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Serbia's Economy Minister Rade Basta on March 13 called on his government to finally impose sanctions against Russia, declaring that they were paying a "high price" for not doing so.

Basta added that it was becoming "more and more unbearable" that the Serbian government remained silent.

His comments come after Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic said, as quoted by Balkan Insight on March 10, that he could not "swear" that Serbia would never impose sanctions against Russia.

Serbia has traditionally been an ally of Russia. However, tensions have begun to surface between the two countries since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Serbia's Defense Minister Milos Vucevic denied reports that his country sent 3,500 missiles to Ukraine, as the Associated Press reported on March 3.

This came after Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova issued a threat to the Serbian government, declaring that the report on missiles would pose a "serious question" about the future of relations between both countries.

Vucevic admitted that a third party could have been involved in the transfer of the weapons.

“If private companies buy weapons in third states’ markets and then sell them to other companies in other countries, that is not a question for Serbia, that is international trade,” he said, as cited by AP.

Vucic on Jan. 17 asked Russia to prevent the Wagner Group, a private military contractor, from recruiting soldiers in Serbia.

According to Serbian law, it is illegal for the country's citizens to participate in foreign conflicts.