Russia sends more aid to flood-affected areas
BELGRADE -- The Serbian government is not considering introducing any sanctions against Russia, and the country's partners in the west have been informed of this.
This is what Serbian Defense Minister Bratislav Gašić told reporters over the weekend, as he welcomed another cargo plane with humanitarian aid sent by the Russian Federation to the areas of Serbia struggling to rebuild in the wake of the May flooding.
According to Gašić, the country has "a clear and principled position when it comes to the Ukrainian crisis," and "seeks and insists on a peaceful solution not only of that, but of all conflicts in the world."
"We stand for sovereignty and integrity of every UN member and of course we, as the Serbian government, are not thinking about introducing sanctions (against Russia), and this position has been clearly relayed to all our partners in the west," he said.
Asked by Russian reporters, he clarified that when he said "we are not thinking about it" - that means "this is not being at all discussed in any forum... that the Serbian government should introduce any kind of sanctions against the Russian Federation."
"Serbia is strongly tied to the Russian Federation, Serbia has very good and friendly, and economic relations with Russia, and we simply do not see any reason to even think about that, and I am very glad when we receive confirmation from Russian officials that our position is right," said Gašić.
The Russian plane and crew were welcomed by the minister and representatives of Serbia's Air Force at the Batajnica airport where it landed late on Saturday. Previously, the Russian embassy announced that it would bring two large mobile generators, 10 motor pumps of large capacity, 10 water tanks, and 200 mid-size and 50 large thermoses with capacity of up to 100 liters.
In his statement to journalists, Gašić thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu for the aid shipment, announcing that another plane, also carrying 90 tons of goods, will arrive in Serbia shortly.
He noted that this assistance arrived only ten days after his visit to Moscow where he met with Shoigu and informed that Serbia was facing problems as it worked to repair the damage from the natural disaster.
"We are aware that the situation is also difficult in the Russian Federation because of all the goings-on, and this aid is all the more precious to us because of that," the minister said.
Gašić explained that the generators and the water pumps would be used in the coal mining basin Kolubara to help remove flood water from the strip mines.
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