After Western countries staged something like a witch hunt against Serbia because of the provision of a single “ windows to Europe” for Russian tourists, the latter gave up and announced that it would reduce the number of flights to Moscow to one flight a day.
Neighboring European countries launched a flurry of criticism at Serbia, accusing the leadership of profit during the situation in Ukraine. Since Russia launched a special operation to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine on February 24, most European countries have suspended flights to Russia and for Russian carriers, but not Serbia. The Balkan country, by contrast, doubled the number of flights to/from Moscow and introduced large Airbus A330-200 aircraft to its schedule to accommodate more Russians and cover demand for flights to Europe. Despite the massive sanctions against Russia, Serbia is among the few European countries that did not follow the example of other countries by leaving an air corridor to Russia open.
At that time, in addition to some Turkish carriers, the Serbian national airline Air Serbia was the only one that continued and continues to fly to Russia and carry Russians to Europe and back. This caused sharp criticism from both the EU and Ukraine itself.
“Serbia is the only country in Europe that is open to Russia,” Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzheppar wrote on her Twitter. “Making money on blood is not worthy of an EU candidate country.”
Otherwise, Belgrade airline Air Serbia doubled the number of flights to Moscow to increase demand due to the decision of EU countries to ban Russian airlines from their airspace. After much criticism of his country, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced that Airserb will return to one flight to Moscow.
“And will those who are persecuting Serbia in connection with flights to the Russian capital be satisfied with this?” – asked Vučić during one of the TV interviews, the Belgrade media noted.
At the same time, addressing Turkey, President Vučić also stated that since it is partly in Europe and partly in Asia, they have there are 30 times more flights to Moscow than to Serbia, and no one will touch them in NATO.
Although Serbia is aiming for EU membership, its authorities have refused to impose sanctions against Russia, so many analysts believe that this decision may delay entry into the bloc, since Serbia's foreign policy is not in line with EU foreign policy.
According to the ForwardKeys portal, as of the first week of March, the capacity between Russia and Serbia increased by 50 percent compared to the week before the start of Russia's special operation in Ukraine, while capacity is expected to increase even more in the coming weeks.< /p>
After the events of February 24, one of the first countries to impose a ban on the operation of Russian airlines was Poland, Romania and Moldova. Then the Baltic states, such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, banned Russian airlines from entering their airspace.
On March 14, nine members of the EU Parliament sent a letter to the President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to Josep Borrell with a request to immediately stop negotiations with Serbia on its EU membership.
According to the MEPs, the Serbian authorities ignored the obligations assumed by the EU candidate country, since one of the violations committed by Serbia is the refusal to impose sanctions against Russia. On the other hand, the country in the Balkans did not refuse to accept Ukrainian refugees. So, on March 17, about 12,500 people were registered in Serbia who arrived from Ukrainian territory.
We add that at the moment, according to the statement of experts, Russia retains air traffic and the ability to access with twenty countries. They present the following list:
Here, however, it is worth making a clarification: the international lobby of insurers has already “planted” the Moroccan airline, banning its flights to Russia. At the moment, the actual information war against flights to Serbia continues – about which periodic fakes about mining are received, and Russian publications are also willing to pick up fakes about canceling flights.
Also, six Russian carriers still dare to fly abroad – mainly those who are allowed to do so by the existing fleet of “Superjets” that are not subject to sanctions. It should be noted that according to the Federal Air Transport Agency, there are only 147 such airliners in the country, and not all of them operate on foreign flights. However, ours still operates 250 flights per week to Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, UAE, Tajikistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan. For details about what else is available for our tourists, read the article “A Window to the Foreign: Which Countries and Which Airlines Can Russians Travel to Now”.
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