US Assistant Secretary of State Karen Donfried told the Serbian state TV (RTS) on Wednesday that Serbia’s decision to condemn the Russian attack on Ukraine was very powerful and added that it should join in the fight against misinformation.
Donfried said that comparisons of the war in Ukraine and the 1999 NATO air campaign against what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia are wrong and dangerous.
She said that people in the Western Balkans, including Serbs, went through death and destruction in the 1990s because of nationalism and divisions. We reject claims that those events somehow justify Russia’s illegal and unprovoked attack on Ukraine. We may not agree on the causes of the 1999 operation against Slobodan Milosevic and the FRY but because of its position in 1999, Serbia should take the lead in condemning what Russia is doing against the civilian population, the RTS quoted her as saying. She said that the forcible changes of borders that Serbia went through in the 1990s is very different to what is happening in Ukraine.
“In that context, I think what Serbia did last week is very powerful, what it did at the UN General Assembly session,” she said. According to her, the events in Ukraine should be cause for concern for both Americans and Serbs because of the principle of territorial integrity and sovereignty, respect for the right of every state to choose its own foreign policy, not change borders by force. “It’s clear to me that Serbia has expressed a clear willingness to join the European Union which means aligning with EU foreign policy,” she said and added that Serbia should prevent the spread of Russian propaganda and misinformation about the attack on Ukraine.