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Ukraine’s first lady and foreign minister make their first visit to Serbia

Ukraine’s First Lady and Foreign Minister visit Serbia for the first time, potentially signaling a pivot in Serbian alliances away from Russia towards Western engagement, according to Reuters.
Ukraine’s FM Dmytro Kuleba (L, in the background), first lady Olena Zelenska, Serbia’s first lady Tamara Vučić in Belgrade on 12 May 2024. Photo: X/TanjugNews
Ukraine’s first lady and foreign minister make their first visit to Serbia

Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba made their first visits to Serbia on 12 May. Reuters believes this visit signals Serbia’s shift away from Moscow, its traditional ally. Accompanied by Serbian counterpart Tamara Vučić, Zelenska toured Belgrade and its medieval Kalemegdan fortress and visited the signing of a cooperation agreement between universities in Belgrade and Kyiv, as reported by the Tanjug news agency, Reuters says.

With pro-Russian sentiment strong in Serbia, President Aleksandar Vučić balances Serbia’s EU candidacy with relationships with Russia and China. The Serbian government includes pro-Russian officials like Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vulin and Minister Nenad Popović, both under US sanctions.

As of the publication of this article, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry and Foreign Minister Kuleba’s official X/Twitter account, as well as the President’s website have not reported on the minister’s and the first lady’s visit to Serbia.

Reuters notes that Serbia has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in international forums yet hasn’t joined sanctions against the Kremlin. President Vučić has met Ukraine’s Zelenskyy three times since 2022 at international forums. Since 2022, Serbia has hosted Ukrainian refugees, sent humanitarian aid, and pledged support for Ukraine’s demining and reconstruction.

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