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Lavrov Praises Ties With Serbia On Visit To Belgrade

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has praised his country's ties with ally Serbia during a visit to Belgrade on May 15.

Following talks with Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, Lavrov said he had welcomed a statement from his counterpart that Belgrade would not "sacrifice" its relations with Moscow to pursue membership of the European Union.

Lavrov said Russia is concerned over alleged statements by Albanian leaders on creating a greater state and by recent unrest in northern Macedonia where 22 people were recently killed, including eight police and 14 ethnic Albanians, described by the government as "terrorists."

At a meeting with Serbian President Tomislav Nicolic, Lavrov said Russia will support efforts to “prevent a new change of the borders and a revival of extremist and terrorist manifestations in the Balkans."

The Russian foreign minister also met with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic.

In an interview with a Serbian newspaper, Lavrov thanked Serbs, including Nicolic, for attending May 9 celebrations in Moscow to mark the 70th anniversary of the Allied Victory over Nazi Germany in Europe.

Western leaders stayed away to protest Russian actions in Ukraine.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax