BELGRADE (Sputnik) — Serbia will remain a militarily neutral country and will not change its policy on Russia, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Thursday, amid allegations of Russian espionage activity in the nation.

On Wednesday, Serbia’s Blic newspaper published an article claiming that a former deputy military attache at the Russian Embassy in Serbia, Georgiy Kleban, attempted to recruit a senior Serbian officer for the purposes of espionage. Serbian Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin said the country’s authorities would first study and verify the reports.

Blic and other Serbian media published images and video of an alleged spy encounter in which the two men can be seen exchanging packages and the Serbian official pulling an envelope — purportedly containing cash — from his pocket.

Vucic has commented on the publication of the footage, saying that he Serbian authorities saw the former deputy military attache at the Russian Embassy in Serbia giving money to Serbian officers three times. 

The footage involving Kleban, according to the Serbian president, had been recorded on December 24, 2018, in Belgrade’s Zemun district. The president said that then, the Russian officer met with resigned Serbian colonel Z. K..

Earlier in the day, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, said that Moscow will comment on the matter only when the video file is evaluated for authenticity and studied to determine the identity of the participants.

On Thursday, President Vucic met with Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko, Russian ambassador to Serbia, during which he confirmed an upcoming 4 December visit to the Russian city of Sochi, and then scheduled a meeting of the security council.


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