Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, whose country has long had close cultural and business ties with Russia, said his nation wants no part of the current war, saying his people "could not support Russia's invasion against Ukraine."
Vucic, in an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday, said he disagrees with Russian President Vladimir Putin's territorial claims regarding Ukraine.
"We, from the very beginning, said that we were not able and we could not support Russia's invasion against Ukraine," Vucic said, Bloomberg reported. "For us, Crimea is Ukraine, Donbas is Ukraine, and it'll remain so."
Putin began Russia's unprovoked attack on Ukraine in February of last year.
In his Bloomberg interview and with other media, Vucic has repeatedly said Serbia's goal is to align with Europe, and has taken steps against Moscow.
Ukraine has voted three times in the United Nations to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Last October, Serbia backed a U.N. resolution opposing Moscow's "unlawful” annexation of four Ukrainian regions.
Vucic now predicts that the war's worst is yet to come as both sides dig in.
Vucic, 52, said he hasn't talked with Putin for many months.
"We are not always jubilant about some of their stances," said Vucic, who was reelected by a landslide margin last year. "We have a traditionally good relationship, but it doesn't mean that we support every single decision or most of the decisions that are coming from the Kremlin."
Vucic, however, has been reluctant to join the U.S. and European Union sanctions against Russia.
Serbia, a landlocked nation, has noted that its dependence on Russia's gas and oil makes such a move difficult to impossible.
Still, Vucic has been steering Serbia on a closer path with the United States and Europe, and Serbia has applied for EU membership.
Vucic has also been taking active measures to stop support from Serbia for Russia's war effort.
After Russia sought to advertise on Serbian media for recruiting mercenaries to join the Wagner paramilitary group, Vucic went on television Monday to denounce the move and said it would not be permitted.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.