Serbia appoints pro-Kremlin head of intelligence service

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Serbia appointed Aleksandar Vulin, a controversial former interior minister with ties to the Kremlin, as head of Balkan country’s intelligence agency, state-controlled public broadcaster RTS reported Thursday.

While Serbia condemned Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine at the United Nations, it refused to join Western sanctions against Russia.

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Vulin is a former defense and interior minister whose fiercely nationalist outbursts have often caused diplomatic rows with neighboring countries.

He is one of the few high-ranking European politicians to visit Moscow since the start of the conflict. The 50-year-old met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in August.

Vulin has already said that Serbia “will not be a part of anti-Russian hysteria,” highlighting Moscow’s diplomatic support for Serbia.

Vulin also publicly advocates for “Serbian world” – a union of Serbs living in various countries, something that critics believe mirrors Moscow’s idea of a “Russian world.”

Serbia has been in the waiting room for European Union membership since 2012, but the Balkan nation is almost entirely dependent on Russian gas.

It also relies on Moscow’s veto power at the United Nations, which effectively halts its breakaway region Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008, from achieving international recognition.

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