Serbia, Russia agree to gas deal in principle, Lavrov says

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Russian President Vladimir Putin have discussed the terms of gas supply arrangements and reached an agreement in principle, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the Bosnian Serb entity TV on Sunday in an interview.

The agreement should be elaborated within the companies involved, Lavrov added.

On his upcoming trip to Serbia on 6-7 June, Lavrov also said he would discuss all matters of interest to Serbia with Vučić. Lavrov will meet with Vučić and other government officials, Russia’s foreign ministry has announced.

Russia would like to hear what Vučić, and other Serbian politicians, think about the new situation, said Lavrov, adding that it would be “very interesting to hear what they think about the EU’s mediating role.”

On Kosovo, Lavrov said Putin had repeatedly made it clear, in his meetings with Vučić as well as his public appearances, that Russia absolutely supported Serbia’s stance, and that it would support a decision that was acceptable to the Serbian people. Talks on the future of Kosovo needed to be based on UN Security Council Resolution 1244, he added.

Serbian President Vučić admitted on 2 June that the situation around the visit of Sergey Lavrov to Belgrade was getting complicated. “It is getting complicated. I am not yet prepared to speak about it, but – yes, it is getting complicated… the question is how he will arrive… we shall see,” Vučić told Serbian media.

At the same time, Lavrov’s visit could jeopardise the announced visit to Belgrade of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The chancellor’s office announced in a press release that Belgrade and Pristina would be the first two stops of Scholz’s two-day Balkan tour from 10 June. Scholz’s tour will focus on the European outlook of Western Balkan countries and Germany’s contribution to advancing regional cooperation and overcoming bilateral stalemates, it added.

Asked about German Chancellor Olaf Scholz possibly not visiting Belgrade on 10 June as announced by the media on 2 June, Vučić said: “it would be a tragedy” and that while it may well happen, he hoped it would not.

On Sunday (5 June), Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and Bulgaria closed their airspace to Lavrov’s plane to Belgrade.

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