Putin accuses West of 'destabilising' the Balkans
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អន្តរជាតិ
Putin accuses West of 'destabilising' the Balkans
16, Jan 2019 , 4:57 pm        
រូបភាព
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa (L) during a signing ceremony following their talks in the Kremlin in Moscow, on January 15, 2019
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa (L) during a signing ceremony following their talks in the Kremlin in Moscow, on January 15, 2019
ដោយ: AFP
Ahead of a visit Thursday to Belgrade, Russian President Vladimir Putin has blamed Western countries for "destabilising" the Balkans, returning an accusation often lobbed in his direction.

 
"As for the situation in the Balkans, a serious destabilising factor there is the policy of the US and some other Western countries aimed at securing their dominance in the region," he told the Serbian Vecernje Novosti newspaper in an interview published on the Kremlin website. 
 
The Balkans are often cast as a battleground between Eastern and Western powers, though all countries in the region aspire to join the European Union and most are already allied with NATO.
 
Serbia, however, remains a staunch Moscow ally and is set to welcome Putin with a parade on Thursday.
 
The two countries share Slavic roots and the Orthodox Christian faith, which Putin described as their "spiritual and cultural kinship".
 
They are also united over the issue of Kosovo -- the former Serbian province whose independence Belgrade refuses to acknowledge. Moscow has supported Serbia on this front and can use its veto to block Kosovo from the United Nations.
 
The US, a strong ally to Kosovo, has frequently accused Russia of meddling in the affairs of the region, including in last year's referendum in Macedonia to change its name, a prerequisite for joining NATO. 
 
However, Moscow has recently seen setbacks in the region, with countries such as Montenegro and Macedonia both making gains towards closer links to the West. 
 
Putin also accused the West of pressuring those countries against the will of their people.
 
NATO expansion efforts are drawing "new dividing lines on the European continent" and increasing tensions, he told Politika newspaper.

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