09 Apr 15
Russia Slates Montenegro’s No-Show in Moscow
The Russian Embassy has criticized President Filip Vujanovic’s decision not to attend the WW2 Victory Parade in Moscow in May, which many Western and EU leaders are boycotting.
Russia’s Ambassador to Montenegro, Andrej Nesterenko, on Wednesday accused Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic of changing his mind about whether to take part in the Victory Day parade in Moscow, having first said he would go before later saying he would not.
The daily newspaper Dan quoted Nesterenko as saying that Vujanovic had initially accepted the invitation from Russian President Vladimir Putin to take part as one of the guests of honour.
After months of conflicting reports about whether he would accept the invitation, President Vujanovic on Tuesday clarified that he would not attend the May 9 parade.
He will instead participate in the domestic celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Victory over Fascism in the capital, Podgorica, also on May 9.
The day marks the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany – in which the USSR under Stalin played a leading role.
The Russian ambassador said the decision led him to “question the sincerity” of Montenegro’s claim to respect the joint history of the two nations in the fight against fascism.
“The question is how we can build bilateral relations at the highest level on such principles,” Nesterenko concluded.
Vujanovic had been expected to attend events in Moscow’s Red Square, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The Russian Foreign Ministry reported earlier that Vujanovic would be among 26 heads of the states who have agreed to watch the parade.
Celebrations marking the defeat of Hitler’s Germany have become ensnared by disputes over Ukraine, where Putin’s Russia is supporting a separatist revolt in the east.
Angered by the way Russia appears to be unilaterally redrawing borders in Eastern Europe, a number of world leaders have said they are not going to Moscow.
US President Barack Obama, Germany’s Angela Merkel, Britain’s David Cameron, the head of the European Council, Donald Tusk, and the presidents of Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Georgia, Moldova, Finland and Bulgaria have all said they will not take part in the parade.
Serbia’s President, Tomislav Nikolic, has drawn criticism from some EU officials for saying in March that he planned to attend. The Serbian army will also take part in the WW2 Victory Day Parade.
Serbia and Russia have strong ties, based partly on a common Orthodox faith and Slavic nationality and most Serbs see Russia as their country’s historic ally. Belgrade had adopted a neutral stance over Ukraine and has refused to join Western sanctions imposed on Russia in relation to events in Ukraine.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)