Home Public Diplomacy The head of Ukrainian diplomacy on his first visit to Serbia
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The head of Ukrainian diplomacy on his first visit to Serbia

The head of Ukrainian diplomacy Dmytro Kouleba, on his first visit to Serbia since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, will meet Prime Minister Milos Vucevic in Belgrade on Monday, the head of government’s office announced. This visit comes around ten days after the formation of the new Serbian government, after the December elections.

A Balkan country negotiating its accession to the European Union, Serbia has been walking on a particularly narrow ridge between East and West since the invasion of Ukraine. Belgrade, which supports Ukraine’s territorial integrity, has condemned the war at the UN but refuses to align with Western countries’ sanctions against Moscow. Russia, which remains an important ally of Serbia, does not recognize the independence proclaimed in 2008 of the former Serbian province of Kosovo.

Mr. Kouleba traveled to Belgrade on Sunday where he visited the Serbian capital in the company of Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, an event which had not been officially announced to the media. Ms. Zelenska posted images on Instagram on Sunday evening of her visit to Belgrade with Tamara Vucic, the wife of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

Also in the presence of the Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marko Djuric, Ms. Zelenska and Mr. Kouleba visited the Belgrade City Library where a “Ukrainian shelf” was inaugurated, then the Kalemegdan fortification where they launched an audio- guide in Ukrainian to this tourist site. Ms. Zelenska spoke on her Instagram account of an “interaction (which) has lasted for years” with Ms. Vucic, who participated in September 2023 in kyiv at the Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen, organized by Ms. Zelenska. Ms Zelenska spoke of “soft power”, “especially when it comes to saving lives and restoring justice”.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has met his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky three times since the start of the war in Ukraine, always on the sidelines of international forums. He also met Russian President Vladimir Putin in October 2023 during an economic and political conference in Beijing.

This article is originally published on lorientlejour.com

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