Tolkach: 7,000 Ukrainian Refugees in Serbia Have Been Waiting for Work Permits for Months | Beta Briefing

Tolkach: 7,000 Ukrainian Refugees in Serbia Have Been Waiting for Work Permits for Months

Source: Beta
Archive / News | 27.02.23 | access_time 07:39

Ukrainian Ambassador to Belgrade Volodymyr Tolkach (BETAPHOTO/MILOS MISKOV)

Ukrainian Ambassador to Belgrade Volodymyr Tolkach said on Feb. 24 that there were around 7,000 Ukrainian refugees in Serbia at the moment, whose ability to be self-sufficient had been impeded by months of waiting for work permits, and noted that he was working with the Serbian authorities on solving this problem.

In an interview with BETA on the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Tolkach said that as a diplomat he could understand why Serbia was not imposing sanctions on Russia, but that for the Ukrainians who were at war it was hard to understand. He said the Russian aggression against Ukraine affected its relations with Serbia, whose citizens he advised not to "listen to information from the outside," but to use their own "hearts and minds."

"It is understandable that Russia is leveraging its position as a permanent member of the [U.N.] Security Council to influence voting on resolutions related to the territorial integrity of Serbia. Your economy depends on Russian gas and oil. That's all understandable here in Belgrade, but if you went to Ukraine, you would see Russian missiles, the death of our people, our defenders, and those arguments I mentioned cannot be accepted by Ukrainian citizens. It's hard to understand when you see the death of your father and mother that a nation doesn't want to influence Russia to stop the war," Tolkach told BETA.

Commenting on statements by Russian diplomats and pro-Russian articles in Serbian media, Tolkach said Russian propaganda was another weapon in the war. He recalled that the stance of the Serbian authorities, especially head of state Aleksandar Vucic and Defense Minister Milos Vucevic, was expressly against the Russian private military outfit Wagner, which has been accused of war crimes on Ukrainian soil.

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