Tuesday, September 22, 2020
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Putin apology to Serbia over Russian spokeswoman Zakharova


image copyrightzakharova/facebook

image captionMaria Zakharova posted this photo from the White House, with Sharon Stone’s crossed legs below it

Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a rare apology to his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic for a senior Russian official’s Facebook post which angered Mr Vucic.

Mr Vucic told Serbian TV about the apology and the Kremlin confirmed it.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova posted a photo of Mr Vucic sitting opposite President Donald Trump in the White House and below it a photo of actress Sharon Stone’s legs.

Ms Zakharova herself later apologised.

The provocative screenshot of the crossed legs came from the film Basic Instinct, in a scene where Sharon Stone’s character briefly exposes herself.

Ms Zakharova’s post said Mr Vucic looked as if he was being interrogated by President Trump.

“If you are invited to the White House but your chair stands like you are in an interrogation, you should sit like in the picture number 2. Whoever you are. Just trust me,” Ms Zakharova wrote.

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionMaria Zakharova was thought to be taking aim at Serbian-US ties

On Sunday she updated the post with an apology, saying her comments had been misunderstood. She said she was taking aim at American “arrogance”, not the Serbian leader.

On Thursday Mr Vucic told Serbian TV: “President Putin has never apologised to me for anything, and neither has [Russian Foreign Minister] Sergei Lavrov. But both did.”

Mr Vucic said he had spoken to Mr Putin by phone, and he added: “I think we have good relations and for me this was a passing, unimportant incident.”

Vucic fury at ‘vulgarity’

Ms Zakharova’s post came after Mr Vucic had signed a co-operation deal with Kosovo at the White House, and has been seen as a sign of Russian irritation with Serbian-US ties.

image copyrightReuters

image captionVladimir Putin, left, and Aleksandar Vucic have a good relationship

Serbia has long been a key ally of Russia’s in the Balkans, and neither country recognises Kosovo’s independence.

Mr Vucic was furious with Ms Zakharova’s post. In televised comments he said “Maria Zakharova speaks mostly about herself, and the primitivism and vulgarity she showed speaks of her, and by God, of those who placed her there”.


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