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President Vučić warns of “hard winter”: EU embargo on Russian oil also affects Serbia

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Although Belgrade has so far not joined the EU sanctions against Russia because of the Ukraine war, the punitive measures of the international community will also affect the Western Balkans. The Serbian President warned of a “hard winter” on Tuesday.

The pressure on Serbia to join Western sanctions against Russia over its military operation in Ukraine continues unabated. For weeks, Belgrade has been openly asked to change course and still impose punitive measures on Moscow. Chancellor Olaf Scholz did this most recently during his visit to the Serbian capital. Scholz said:

“We expect that the sanctions will also be implemented by those countries that are moving in the EU accession process.”

President Vučić to Chancellor Scholz: "Serbia will not bow to the pressure of sanctions"

President Vučić to Chancellor Scholz: “Serbia will not bow to the pressure of sanctions”

Serbia has been negotiating accession to the EU since 2014. But Belgrade has so far refused to follow the EU’s current course in relation to Moscow. Above all, with reference to the fact that one does not support a policy of sanctions, because one has suffered from them for years. At the same time, Belgrade wants to put its own national and economic interests first. During Chancellor Scholz’s visit, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić also said that his country had “had different relations with the Russian side for centuries”. Serbia is also closely linked to Russia in terms of the country’s energy supply.

But now the partial embargo imposed by the EU on Russian oil could also affect the Balkan country with its roughly seven million inhabitants (excluding the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo). The Serbian President even spoke of an impending “hard winter” for his country. Because Serbia obtains around 16 percent of its crude oil requirements from Russia. However, the transport takes place by sea – and this is exactly what is subject to EU sanctions.

The Serbian Ministry of Energy had already warned weeks ago that the import ban imposed on Russian oil deliveries by tanker would also affect the Western Balkans. Belgrade gets its crude oil from Russia via the so-called JANAF pipeline. The oil is delivered by tanker to the Croatian Adriatic port of Omišalj on the island of Krk and then on to two refineries in Serbia.

Vučić: Serbia has neither an anti-Western nor a Russophobic agenda

Vučić: Serbia has neither an anti-Western nor a Russophobic agenda

The Adriatic Pipeline, originally completed in 1974 during the Yugoslav era for oil from the Middle East and North Africa, also supplies Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia.

Now the Serbian President declared on Tuesday in Belgrade that, due to the EU embargo, it will no longer be possible to import oil from Russia from November. The state is preparing for a “hard winter”. Vučić also emphasized that in order to secure energy supply in the country, it is necessary to overcome various challenges and problems almost every day.

Just a few days ago, Belgrade announced that Serbia had secured a new three-year gas contract with Russia. Serbia has agreed on a “cheap” price for Russian gas supplies, Vučić said after a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

More on the subject – USA: Pressure on Serbia

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