The Russian Foreign Minister, Serguei Lavrov, has experienced this Monday in his flesh the same thing that thousands of Russians have felt planning their vacations: Russia is a country isolated from the West not only in the banking and commercial sphere, but the European skies are also closed to Russian planes.

Bulgaria, Montenegro and North Macedonia have refused to allow the Russian diplomat’s plane to pass through their airspace. So Sergei Lavrov will not travel to Serbia this week as planned to further strengthen ties with the government in Belgrade, one of his few remaining allies in Europe.

Outraged, the Russian Foreign Minister described on Monday as “unthinkable” the recent closure of airspace to the route of his plane through neighboring countries of Serbia. Lavrov himself said at a press conference that the attitude of these countries was “outrageous” and that it is an “unprecedented action by some NATO countries.”

“The countries that denied passage to the Russian plane will say that they had been ordered by the EU and NATO. And the latter, in turn, will say that these countries made their own decision,” Lavrov ventured. For his part, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the upper house of the Russian parliament, Konstantin Kosachev, has suggested that NATO was putting pressure on the three countries.

Kremlin spokesman Dimitri Peskov has claimed that actions like this cause problems in meetings at the highest level of diplomats. But he has warned that this will not prevent Moscow from maintaining contacts with friendly countries, such as Serbia, which has the support of Russia regarding the situation in Kosovo, whose independence it does not recognize.

The Belgrade government also supports Moscow and has neither imposed sanctions nor closed its skies to Russia, although it has condemned what it considers an invasion of Ukraine. During the crisis, direct flights from Moscow to Belgrade have been maintained, although now there are only for the month of July for 550 euros.

The two countries have long-standing close ties, with Belgrade recently signing a new three-year contract to receive Russian natural gas. Serbia is now, along with Turkey and Georgia, one of the few alternatives for Russians to spend summer vacations abroad. But Serbia’s location on the other side of the EU makes it difficult for Russian planes to reach.

It is not the first time that Vladimir Putin’s most traveled minister has had trouble flying. Lavrov has previously been forced to cancel a trip to Geneva for disarmament talks in late February after the European Union closed its airspace to Russian aviation.

Lavrov was scheduled to meet with President Aleksander Vucic and Serbian Patriarch Porfirije. A Russian diplomatic source has told the Interfax news agency that there has been no choice but to cancel the visit to Serbia. “Russian diplomacy has not yet learned to teleport,” the source commented.

Lavrov stressed that during the last day many questions have come about “this reaction to unprecedented decisions made by some NATO members” and that “hindered the visit”.

The head of Russian diplomacy has pointed out that, with this decision, a sovereign state has been deprived of the right to carry out its foreign policy. And that the international activities of Serbia with respect to Russia have also been blocked. He has specified that, at the moment, no official explanation has been received from the countries that closed the airspace to his plane.

“If the Russian foreign minister’s visit is perceived in the West as almost a threat on a cosmic scale, then the West is in big trouble,” he said.

The Russian foreign minister has reported that he has already invited his Serbian counterpart to visit Moscow, and has expressed the hope that “the plane in which he will travel – whether regular or special – will not be subjected to a shameful condemnation by Brussels , who lost all decency, nor on the part of his clients”.

Asked if Russia plans to respond to these actions, the head of diplomacy of the same country that has attacked Ukraine a hundred days ago, said that Moscow will never do “anything that further complicates relations between peoples.” According to the head of Russian diplomacy, today more and more “reasonable people in Europe are beginning to wonder why Russia should be made an enemy.”

The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zajarova, has condemned the decision, stressing that the countries of the European Union and NATO continue to ruin their relations with Russia.

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