On 30 January, Croatian President Milanović held a press-conference on the occasion of sending Croatian troops to reinforce NATO presence in Lithuania. At his press-conference, he commented on the situation in Ukraine, stressing that Russia had been provoked in the period 2014-2022 in order to incite the current war. He said that Russia could not be defeated in a conventional war, and even if it were, that would mean the beginning of a nuclear war. He concluded that what the West was doing to Russia was “deeply immoral”. In another statement from his press-conference, he touched upon the issue of Kosovo, saying that it was annexed and taken from Serbia and compared this case with the annexation of Crimea, saying that Crimea will never be Ukrainian again.
Milanović’s statements about the Ukrainian war, and especially the claim that Russia could not be defeated in a conventional war, and even if it were, that would mean the beginning of a nuclear war, echo the ones of the Russian officials. For example, this is exactly what Deputy Chairman of Russian Security Council Medvedev said two weeks before, so Milanović’s statement only promotes the Russian nuclear threats. For a certain period of time, he has been giving statements that support Russian narratives, and, together with Serbian President Vučić, he has been one of the most active state officials on regional level that promotes most of the Russian narratives about the war. The fact that Lavrov concurred with his statement is very telling. As for the claim that Russia was provoked, it is a distortion, since it was Russia that started the conflict in 2014 by illegally annexing Crimea and now it only exacerbated it with the full invasion in 2022. Any attempt to distort this fact means that one stands on the side of the aggressor and causes dismay across the multi-ethnic region. In addition, the irony is that the statement was given on the occasion of sending Croatian troops to reinforce NATO presence in Lithuania, exactly as a response to the Russian aggression over Ukraine.
The other statement from Mialanović’s press-conference, where he compares the cases of Kosovo and Crimea is another example in which he promotes Russian narratives. Since the start of the war Russian officials promoted the narratives Crimea is Russian and Donbas equals Kosovo and Milanović's statements are fully in line with these narratives. Expectedly, Serbian FM Dačić welcomed Milanović’s statement.
Milanović’s statements were subject to 28 articles by 26 outlets, posted 58 times on 51 Facebook pages/groups with 3.654.067 followers and 1.107 interactions.
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