Kosachev: Macedonia’s accession to NATO will not bring anything good

Moscow, 7 February, 2019 - 15:14 (META) 

The Chairman of the Committee on International Relations of the Council of the Russian Federation, Konstantin Kosachev, has determined that Macedonia’s signing of the Accession Protocol for NATO is perhaps a symbolic act, but is important for the Alliance, given the growing conflict between the Alliance and Moscow.

“This is more of a symbolic step than a practical one, because it’s a small country that has no relevance to NATO. However, it is important for the Alliance, given the conflict with Russia, who constantly points to the destructive role of NATO as a remnant of the Cold War,” says Kosachev.

According to him, the whole case around Macedonia shows that Russian dissatisfaction with the Alliance is justified. It also points out that criticism of US President Donald Trump at the expense of NATO has played a key role.

“It has undoubtedly alarmed officials from the Alliance in Brussels, who are now doing everything to show Washington that NATO is doing well well and that it is expanding,” says Kosachev.

The Russian senator believes that joining NATO will not bring anything good to Macedonia, nor to European security.

MFA tells Moscow: The future will confirm the correctness of the Prespa Agreement

Skopje, 15 January, 2019 - 23:59 (META) 

In response to yesterday’s statement by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the MFA (Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) says that the procedure for passing the constitutional changes in accordance with the Prespa Agreement is with full respect of the envisaged parliamentary procedure and the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, and expressed regret that Russia “in a negative context, puts authentic political processes in two neighboring countries leading to problem-solving, fostering trust and building friendship. ”

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia regretfully concludes that despite such heated problems in today’s world, the Department of Information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation again, in a negative context, attests to the authentic political processes in two neighboring countries that lead to troubleshooting, building trust and building friendship. The amendments to the Constitution in accordance with the Prespa Agreement, adopted in Parliament with full respect for the envisaged parliamentary procedure and the Constitution, which reflects the consensus and determination of the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia for membership in NATO and the European Union, have received undivided support from the wider international community as an act of political courage, responsibility and leadership, which resolves a long-standing bilateral problem that has burdened the relations between Macedonia and Greece,” reads the reaction from the Macedonian Foreign Ministry.

The Prespa Agreement contributes to regional stability and is a model for resolving open issues among countries, reads the reaction.

“Not only does the Prespa Agreement not interfere with the interests of any third parties, but it substantially contributes to regional stability, friendship and cooperation, and as such is an example and model for resolving open issues between countries. The MFA is confident that the future will reaffirm the correctness of this approach, which prefers political vision and leadership, and that the benefits of regional stability and prosperity will be accepted and validated by all sides, including the friendly Russian Federation,” says the Macedonian Foreign Ministry.

Moscow: The constitutional changes are against the will of the people, the UN’s Security Council should discuss the name

Moscow, 14 January, 2019 - 18:54 (META) 

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department for Informing and Press Relations has called the passing of the new amendments of the Macedonian Constitution in order to change the country’s name as “an artificial change of the country’s name in order for an enforced entering of Skopje into NATO” and stated that the problem with the country’s renaming should be discussed by the UN’s Security Council in accordance with Article 3 of Council’s Resolution 845.

“It’s about the continuation of the process of the artificial changing of the country’s name under foreign pressure in order for Skopje to join NATO by force. This is a violation of Macedonian laws. The opinion of the President of the state and the majority of the population that reject the Prespa Agreement are being ignored. The constant protests in Skopje and other Macedonian cities show a deep polarization in the society. It is obvious that this manner of solving issues of national significance for the country’s future is not a reflection of the will of its population and cannot serve as a tool for a longterm solution for the name dispute” said the press release.

The Russian MFA state that the development of the occurrences in Greece i.e. the resignation of Panos Kammenos, the now former Minister of Defense and President of the Independent Greeks, SYRIZA’s coalition partner is talking about the “explosiveness of the situation.” Additionally, it accused that Greece was subjected to the same formula as Macedonia – a pressure in order for the Prespa Agreement to pass through the rejection of the will of the Greek nation.

“The opinion of the Russian Federation regarding the name dispute of the Macedonian state remains unchanged: a sustainable solution has to be found far from outside pressures, imposed solutions and conditions from forces outside, and a solution that will be based upon a wider public support, both in Macedonia and Greece, and within the rule of law. We think that this issue has to be discussed by the UN’s Security Council in accordance with Article 3 of Security Council’s Resolution 845.

Maslov: Russia doesn’t oppose Macedonia’s new name, it opposes NATO membership

Athens, 20 December, 2018 - 11:01 (META) 

Russia doesn’t oppose the Prespa Agreement regarding the name but it opposes Macedonia’s membership into NATO, said Russian Ambassador to Greece, Andrej Maslov during a briefing in Athens regarding the visit of the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras in Moscow.

– If Athens and Skopje reach an agreement about the name and if that is officially accepted by the Republic of Macedonia’s Constitution, then we shall recognize that decision – said Maslov, when asked whether Moscow will veto the agreement at the UN’s Security Council.

He has also repeated Rusia’s view that it opposes Macedonia’s membership in the Alliance and if that happens, Moscow will be forced to take countermeasures.

The Russian Ambassador also stated that the Prespa Agreement will not influence relations between Russia and Greece. Relations between Athens and Moscow, according to Moscow, are normalizing after diplomatic incidents that occurred during the summer when Greece expelled two Russian diplomats, while two other diplomats were banned from entering Greece due to findings of Russian interference in the negotiations in the name dispute.

Živaljević and his boss settle in BiH, while Sarajevo fear their own April 27

Sarajevo, 10 December, 2018 - 19:40 (META) 

Goran Živaljević, the Serbian intelligence officer who photographed himself in Parliament during the brutal violence on 27 April, 2017, has been in Sarajevo since the beginning of November, this year, at the Serbian embassy.

The first position – ambassador – is carried out by his boss from May this year, former director of the Serbian security and intelligence agency – BIA, Aleksandar Đorđević, reports “Radio Sarajevo”. This media outlet who released statements regarding the involvement of the Serbian secret service in the violence in Parliament on April 27, recalls that the Basic Public Prosecutor’s Office is considering interrogating Živaljević for his role in the attack.

“Is a Macedonian and Montenegrin scenario being prepared for BiH?” Asks the headline in “BH Vijesti”, reporting on the story.

Documents published by Macedonian “Nova TV”, Belgrade’s KRIK and OCCRP show that Živaljević had conducted propaganda activity aimed at promoting Russian policy ” under former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and activities against Macedonia’s accession to NATO.

In an article by “Radio Sarajevo”, dedicated to the relocation of Serbian intelligence agents who are in the field and are spreading Russian influence in the Balkans, it is said that another of their “associates” is in BiH.

It is about Miroslav Lazanski, a journalist and military-political analyst who, in the RTRS, the public broadcasting service of Republika Srpska, through a show called “Lazan Direct” continues with the same activities as in Macedonia under Gruevski’s reign, praising the then government.

“Politika”: Gruevski raises tensions between America and Russia

Belgrade, 19 November, 2018 - 15:24 (META) 

While it has been formally claimed that fugitive Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski is in Budapest, some articles speculate that he had traveled to Russia or Turkey, reported Serbian pro-government daily newspaper “Politika”. The article points out that both Russia and Turkey maintain diplomatic relations with Skopje, but have clashed over pro-Western policies pursued by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

Under the headline “Gruevski raises tensions between America and Russia,” the oldest daily newspaper in Serbia writes that “Russia will never accept Macedonia’s accession to NATO, and Turkey is not happy that Macedonia succumbed to the Greek demands for a change of the country’s name.” “Politika” also believes that Zaev will need “a lot, not just political, but also legal evidence, to explain to the people and the international community, especially to the East, that Gruevski is not a political victim of American red rule in Skopje, as VMRO-DPMNE claims, but rather that he escaped because he was going to prison.”

“At the moment, Zaev is the only optimist and believes that Gruevski will be returned to Macedonia. The question remains, if he really is in Russia, how Zaev will reach him, and if he is in Budapest, then Prime Minister Viktor Orban is most definitely in a awkward situation politically with respect to Russia, and legally and politically in relation to the EU,” concludes”Politika”.

Regardless of what is written in this newspaper, Gruevski was sentenced to two years in the “Tank” case. The hearings were open to the public and the media reported throughout the trial.

His lawyers attempted to appeal the final verdict, unsuccessfully, because the Court of Appeal upheld the verdict. Then a ruling was issued for Gruevski to surrender himself to prison, Gruevski filed a motion to postpone the serving of the sentence, but that too was denied it. Gruevski then disappeared.

Baily: I wasn’t at the Parliament as I was watching the voting on TV

Skopje, 25 October, 2018 - 10:24 (META) 

After the accusations from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the US Ambassador in Macedonia, Jess Baily, was present at the Parliament during the voting for the initiation of the constitutional changes, yesterday on TV21, he denied these claims, stating that he was watching the voting on TV, from his living room.

-That day I was working in my office, as I was attending an event in by the Embassy that evening and as most of the citizens in Macedonia I watched the voting on my TV from my living room – said Bailey for TV21.

As he said at TV21, the only thing that the US Embassy did was the statement that greeted the voting.

-It is clear that the accusations that the US is illegally involved and have improperly influenced the voting at the Parliament absurd. As we stated, we greeted the voting at the Macedonian Parliament to initiate the constitutional changes and the implementation of the Prespa Agreement – said Baily.

Two days ago, the Russian Foreign Ministry accused that the 8 votes from the opposition were secured by blackmail, threats and bribe.

“The MPs were closed in their offices, the mobile phones were taken away from them, which it seems is in the spirit of the European democratic practices. it should be mentioned that the US Ambassador was at the Parliament by the end of the session, something that puts doubt about who was managing this process” said the press release issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Russian news agency “Sputnik” calls country “N. Macedonia”

Skopje, 24 October, 2018 - 15:56 (META) 

Russian news agency “Sputnik News”, formerly known as “RIA Novosti” and “Voice of Russia”, has already renamed the Republic of Macedonia to North Macedonia.

Under the headline “Greece, N. Macedonia have “started talking” despite “identity conflict”, the Russian agency that is part of the government’s media consortium “Rossiya Segodnya”, published an interview with Professor Neophytos Loizides from the University of Kent, UK, on Monday regarding the latest developments in the deal with Greece and the decades-long dispute between both countries, and called the country “N. Macedonia” in the headline.

Given the fact that it is a state news agency, which is directly under the head of the Russian government, the renaming could be understood as a signal of official Russian policy, that the constitutional changes in Macedonian Parliament are already ready in place, and Macedonia will accept the name North Macedonia, as the main segment of the Prespa Accord.

USA: Russian claims that we interfered in the vote in Parliament are disinformation

Washington, 24 October, 2018 - 12:30 (META) 

The US State Department assessed Russia’s accusations that the United States was involved in the recent vote in the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia, which gave the green light to start constitutional changes in the country, as unreasonable as an attempt to misinform and propaganda

“Any allegation that representatives of the US Embassy were involved in the voting process in Parliament are unreasonable and false. The United States welcomes the decision of the Macedonian Parliament to begin the constitutional changes necessary for the implementation of the Prespa Agreement with Greece. The United States believes that the Prespa Agreement is a historic opportunity to promote stability, security and prosperity throughout the region, ” said a State Department spokesman at a briefing in Washington answering a Greek journalist’s question, reports ANA-MPA.

The State Department suggests to those who want to explore how Macedonian MPs made their decision to do so in consultation with the MPs themselves, instead of using Russian disinformation and propaganda.

As Stavreski and Janakieski treated Russia on Stip pipeline, Macedonia picked up the bill

Skopje, 15 October, 2018 - 14:42 (META) 

With the agreement with Russia, to cover its share of the debt of the former USSR through the construction of the Klechovce-Stip pipeline, former Finance Minister Zoran Stavreski and former Minister of Transport and Communications Mile Janakieski wrote off the entire debt while Macedonia paid for its gas pipeline alone.

This was the conclusion from the Public Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) in its explanation in their new investigation “Podarok” (Gift), which, together with five others, was launched last week.

According to the investigation, Stavreski, Janakieski, together with Krste Miladinov, the Director of Macedonian Energy Resources (MER) AD Skopje, in the period between January 2012 – July 2014, claimed an illegal property benefit for the Russian company OAO Stroytransgas from Moscow, in the amount of two billion and nine million denars , ie close to 33 million euros. These are the losses in the state budget, state the Public Prosecutor’s Office (SPO).

Stavreski and Janakieski, as representatives of the then Macedonian government, on June 19, 2010, concluded an agreement to repay Russia’s debt to Macedonia in the amount of 60.56 million US dollars through the delivery of goods, works and services. Then they agreed to include all the debt to build the Klechovce-Block Station 5 gas pipeline for a total amount of 75.7 million US dollars, or 55.64 million euros, with Russia participating in 80% of the construction and Macedonia with 20%.

According to the SJO, the ex-ministers made the deal despite a previous feasibility study that deduced it would cost between 30 and 35 million euros for the construction of the Klecovce-Stip pipeline, which is 36 kilometers longer than planned.

Despite having prior knowledge, they concluded the deal on the Russian debt, which made the Russian company a profit of 32.66 million euros due to the unfavorable agreement, and in fact, Macedonia paid for the pipeline alone, says the SPO.