Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has not significantly changed Belgrade’s foreign policy. Although Serbia is an EU candidate country, it has continued to exploit its ties with China and Russia to increase its bargaining position vis-à-vis the West and raise additional funds for development projects. Despite this ambivalent foreign policy, Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić is still considered by many politicians in the EU and NATO as a very important partner in keeping stability in the region.
It seemed that a strong and unified western reaction to the Russian aggression against Ukraine would prevent Serbia from continuing its policy of balancing between East and West. Belgrade, aspiring (at least declaratively) to membership in the European Union, would subsequently be forced to decrease its cooperation with Russia. Yet Serbia’s leadership has been able to avoid introducing sanctions against Russia and keep its good relations with Moscow, while at the same time fostering an image among western politicians as a guarantor of stability in the region.
September 11, 2023 -