Russia says West trying to ‘destabilise’ Serbia

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Russia on Monday accused Western countries of stirring up tensions in Serbia, a Moscow-friendly Balkan nation that has been rocked by protests over alleged fraud in elections held on Dec. 17.

Just a day before, demonstrators tried to storm the Belgrade city hall. Protestors reject the results of parliamentary and local elections in which President Aleksandar Vucic’s party said it secured a commanding victory.

“The attempts of the collective West to destabilise the situation in the country are obvious,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told state-run news agency RIA Novosti.

The Kremlin had welcomed election results, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying Moscow hoped the result would lead to the “further strengthening of friendship” between the countries.

Serbia and Russia have historically close ties and Belgrade did not join international sanctions against Moscow for its Ukraine offensive.

But Serbia has condemned Russia’s aggression at the U.N. and its support has caused controversy.

Serbia is almost entirely dependent on Russian gas. Its opposition complained of foul play during the parliamentary elections.

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