Russia Today
Belgrade counts on Russia not to support Serbian opposition

MOSCOW, May 24, 2000 -- (AFP) Yugoslavia's ambassador to Moscow urged Russia on Tuesday not to support the Serbian opposition in its showdown with his brother -- Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

"I am sure that Russia cannot accept calls to overthrow the president and the legitimate government" in Belgrade, said Borislav Milosevic, the elder brother of the Yugoslav leader.

"This would contradict the interests of Russia," Milosevic told journalists.

Serbian opposition leader Vuk Draskovic said Friday he would appeal to Russia to help stop the authorities' latest crackdown against the independent media and the opposition.

"Whenever we Serbs were in difficult moments, we asked Russia for help," he told about 5,000 demonstrators in Belgrade who were protesting the regime's closure of the only independent television station, Studio B.

"Now we need Russia's help more than ever and I believe that President Vladimir Putin and his government will do everything to prevent this terror," he added.

Draskovic, head of the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) said the opposition would soon travel to Russia for talks at the "highest level."

Moscow has traditionally had good relations with Belgrade-strongman Milosevic but had cool relations with the opposition.

Earlier this month Russia was criticized by the United States for hosting Yugoslav Defense Minister Dragoljub Ojdanic who has been indicted for war crimes by an international tribunal.

Nevertheless, Russia's foreign ministry expressed concern about freedom of speech and a free media when armed police and plainclothes officers in black masks seized Studio B.



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