Russian foreign minister forced to cancel Serbia visit due to flight ban

Montenegro, North Macedonia, Bulgaria close their airspace to Sergey Lavrov’s aircraft, preventing him from meeting with Serbian president.

Russian foreign minister forced to cancel Serbia visit due to flight ban

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has been forced to cancel a two-day visit to Serbia after Montenegro, North Macedonia and Bulgaria closed their airspace to his plane, reports said Sunday.

Lavrov had been set to visit Serbia’s capital Belgrade from June 6 -7 and hold talks with President Aleksandar Vucic.

Vucic on Monday morning held a meeting with Russian Ambassador Aleksandar Bocan-Harcenko regarding the three countries’ decision.

"Ambassador of the Russian Federation Bocan-Kharchenko informed me about the reasons that prevented the arrival of Minister Lavrov in Belgrade and brought documents that support that. I will talk more about everything on RTS1 (Radio Television of Serbia), " said the Serbian leader after the meeting.

This would have been the first visit of a high-ranking Russian official to Serbia since the start of the Ukrainian war and at a time when the European Union is preparing a new series of sanctions against Moscow.

Last Sunday, the Serbian leader announced a new three-year gas supply contract with Russia.

The deal was likely to have been signed during Lavrov's visit.

Belgrade's current 10-year gas supply contract with Russian energy giant Gazprom expires on Tuesday.