Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Serbia on Monday has been canceled, Russian news agency Interfax reported on Sunday, after neighboring countries reportedly closed their airspace to his plane.
Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro have all banned Lavrov’s plane from their airspace, Serbian newspaper Danas reported. “Our diplomacy has not yet mastered teleportation,” a Russian Foreign Ministry source joked to Interfax.
All three countries banned Russian flights from their airspace following sanctions against Moscow, which waged war on Ukraine. But at least one exception was made in April, when a Russian location flew over Bulgaria to pick up Russian diplomats from Serbia.
Lavrov’s visit was announced after Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said his country had reached an “extremely favorable” natural gas deal with Moscow. Instead of meeting the Russian Foreign Minister, Vučić, who has enjoyed warm relations with President Vladimir Putin for years, will meet his ambassador in Belgrade, Danas reported.
Serbia, a candidate for EU membership, refused to sanction Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
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