While other carriers have cut back flights to Moscow, Air Serbia has ramped them up, doubling daily flights to Moscow and adding its flagship wide body aircraft to the route. But after intense criticism from Ukraine and its European neighbors, Serbia has announced it will scale back flights.
Facing Mounting Pressure In Europe, Air Serbia Reducing Moscow Flights
When war in Ukraine broke out two weeks ago, most European nations suspended service to Moscow, even before an airspace ban made it compulsory. But not Air Serbia. Sensing an opportunity, Air Serbia ramped up service to Moscow. Indeed, Belgrade has become one of two de facto hubs for European travelers looking to reach the Russian Federation, the other being Istanbul.
Not only did Air Serbia double service to Moscow, but it also placed its flagship Airbus A330-200 aircraft on the route on days of the week the plane did not travel to New York.
> Read More: Air Serbia A330-200 Business Class Review
Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzheppa responded by tweeting, “Serbia is the only one in Europe with an open sky to Russia. Making money on blood is unworthy of an EU candidate country.”
#AirSerbia doubled direct flights to Moscow while🇪🇺airlines stoped flights to #Russia and closed the airspace to 🇷🇺airlines&private jets. #Serbia is the only one in Europe with an open sky to Russia. Making money on🇺🇦blood is unworthy of #EU candidate country #StandWithUkraine pic.twitter.com/apJGa0JcHt
— Emine Dzheppar (@EmineDzheppar) March 12, 2022
Facing re-election next week, populist Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic lamented the “witch hunt” against his country, but announced that Air Serbia would return service to Moscow to daily instead of twice daily. He mused:
“And will those who are leading the chase against Serbia in connection with the flights to the capital of Russia be satisfied with that?”
Vucic spared no punches for Turkey, also lamenting that “no one will touch those in NATO, who are partly in Europe and partly in Asia, and have 30 times more flights to Moscow than Serbia.”
While Turkey has faced criticism for maintaining service to Russia, it did not double flights like the Serbian flag carrier.
Meanwhile, Serbia is drifting further from the European Union. Despite an open application for EU membership, it has refused to introduce sanctions against its Russian ally and state-controlled media has lauded the Russian “special military option” with propaganda that parrots Russian media.
Air Serbia will grudgingly reduce its Moscow service after taking heat from its European neighbors and Ukraine. Even so, Serbia will remain a main artery for European travelers looking to reach the Russian Federation.
image: Air Serbia
Serbia’s foreign policy is to seek ties with both Russia and NATO. In fact, it purchases military equipment from both NATO countries and Russia, and tries to time contract awards so that it can announce purchases from both sides at the same time.
Serbia had made strides over the past two decades. Apparently they are content on returning to a backwater nation status in Europe. Amidst this they will end up with a mass departure again of their brighter youth to the U.S., U.K. and Germany, just like in the 90’s.
I honestly don’t understand how Turkey is tolerated in NATO any longer other than due its strategic importance as a bridge between Europe and the East. Still is insane to me that they are allowed to remain given Erdogan, human rights issues, and now Russia. I guess if you are a strategic bridge you get the best of both.
“longer other than due its strategic importance as a bridge between Europe”
Turkey was in nato because their soldiers were needed to be sent in the meat grinder in the event of war. It has the largest army in nato after the US. What i can’t figure out is why the US cares so much about defending Europe. Nato is US. All the other countries are in for a free ride. So it’s funny to see all the other countries sabre rattling on behalf of NATO. Like the little yappy dog barking at everyone with its big owner behind it to protect it.
My suggestion, suspend Nato temporarily for the frontier nations like Baltic states, Poland and Hungary. Tell them to join the fight against Russia on their own but with help from the US with supplies. Let them sort it out and get it over with. Only if Russia uses non conventional weapons the NATO joins. Take the war into Russia and Belarus and overthrow the regimes. Clean up the mess, your mess, once and for all.
So guaranteed WW III is your suggestion?
As is Serbia’s decision’s are sort of bad, but Ukraine never stood up for them during the 90’s or when Kosovo declared independence.
Russia did try, and that’s something ended in the psyche of the Serb people. Plus it’s on the NATO’s side, and since 99 NATO is a no-go.
Serbia never said it doesn’t support Ukraine’s territorial integrity, it just never condemned Russia publicly.
But it’s the election year, so if pro-russian crowd will vote they’ll sing their song.
Given the atrocities there are no free passes here. You can’t have it both ways. Serbia should be reminded that Canada has a bigger economy than Russia. As John McCain said, “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country.”
stfu stuart, die
f**k your westernism. Long live Serbia, they are evolving and waking up! Unlike american slave EU
Now what about the Republicans? Whose side are they on? They seem to be only ones who don’t get called out for their enrollment in the kiss russian oligarchs ass brigade.
Has any investigation been done to find out if republicans weren’t helping osama bin laden hide? It wouldn’t surprise me if they were. It took a Democrat president to finally find him. Why?
This is a very tired meme, Debit. Maybe 3% of Republicans have those ideas (the fringe), which would be equal those the percentage of wingnuts on the left who also feel that way. Just like how you guys smear the prior president as being a Russian stooge, yet it’s THIS president who is presiding over Putin’s invasion of a sovereign neighbor. If Trump and the right were as you say, then Putin would have done this 4 years ago without fear.
Quire the contrary is true and I think you know it.
The latter doesn’t discount the former from being true. Just saying.
I’ve always enjoyed my time in Serbia and appreciate their historic ties to Russia. In fact I’ve seen the case made that the support from the west for Bosnia/Kosovo/et al was part of the reason Russia became more hardliner against the west in the 90s.
However… Serbia is landlocked. And extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. How can we be certain anything leaving Russian airspace for Europe is safe? Overdue to ban any flight or object leaving Russian airspace. Sorry. Connect through Dubai. Or Israel. There should be no direct flights from Europe to Russia.
Regardless of sanctions, there will always be legitimate reasons that people will need to travel between Europe and Russia. Foreign media needs to get there. Separated families need to get there. There’s a legitimate flow of diplomats that need to travel. There are also people who want to leave Russia. I don’t think Serbia is wrong in operating flights to Russia, or even in increasing frequency, though I think a gesture of something like a large financial donation to Ukrainian refugees could be appropriate. The same could, and should, be expected of airlines based in Turkey as well.
Yeah, I’m sure Air Serbia is all about giving their profits to those dying in Ukraine at the hands of murderers. I bet they are crunching the numbers right now.
State media is very, very, Very careful about how they portray this situation. Vučić condemned the invasion but refuses to implement sanctions. That is basically the opinion of 90% of us here as well.
It is important to understand that almost nobody here thinks Russia was right to invade even though we consider the whole mess to be cooked up by the US. The problem with the sanctions is that those demanding us to implement them put us in exactly the same situation that Ukraine is now back in 1999. On top of that, we know that sanctions only impact ordinary people. From our experience they are even worse than war.
Cries about inhumanity by those very same people makes my guts wrench and sanctions are out of the question for that reason alone. Vučić would lose elections easily simply because of our disgust of western hypocrisy.
“Even though we consider the whole mess to be cooked up by the US.”
Thanks for making us the fall guy to standing up to a nation that is murdering woman and children in the streets of Ukraine for no reason other than imperialist gains. I guess you forgot that there is a global alliance of most every reasonable and democratic nation in the world that is standing up to Russia. But go ahead, as usual, blame it all on the U.S. Until that is you want to kiss our behinds for work related projects. Typical two face opportunistic POS. I’ll be sure to share this with my Serbian friends here in DC that left in the 90’s and made small fortunes here through hard work while you toil in your land and blame America for everything.
You should be ashamed of yourself, you obtuse, ignorant, neonazi fascist, pro-NATO & pro-ukrainian, idiotic, brute monstrous, pure face of all evil, power driven, money hungry, greedy, war mongering, fearful, prepotent, prevaricating, provocatory, american terroristic cowardly slut!!!!! It’s all your fault, just your fault and people like you who support moral injustice and horror in the whole world.
Let me add, Ukraine in the 90’s is not Serbia today. You are far more positioned, economically able, and perfectly aligned to take a stand. Anything less and you are just double talking to try and please a country that is nothing more than your gas station. Please, don’t come here and try to espouse your great values. If you are trying to compare yourself today to Ukraine in the 90’s you are clearly saying you are corrupt, lost, and a backwater. Are you?
seriously ayo wtf kill yourself you dumphole fat a$$ american obese sh!t. I hate your face.
You keep saying “Serbia doubled their flights”, but why went from 1 to 2. Turkey has 30 flights a days…….crickets. And here comes the big one. Israel continues its daily flights (4 a day) to Russia and has not blocked its airspace to Russia, just like Turkey has not blocked their airspace to Russia. Where is the same criticism towards Israel? I guess that would be antisemitism. This hypocrisy is daft.
omg i love your comment
People have an issue with Serbia and Turkey not going all in on sanctions. Yet no one is bringing up the fact that outside Australia and Japan, no one else is joining the NATO/EU sanctions. The rest of the world is still flying to Russia, buying their oil and gas (Not unlike most of Europe), and in general doesn’t give an F what’s going on in Ukraine.