President: Air Serbia to maintain Russia flights


Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić has said the country’s national carrier will continue to maintain operations from Belgrade to both Moscow and St Petersburg “out of principle” despite both services being subject to near-daily hoax bomb threats. Yesterday, anonymous e-mails were again sent warning of bombs on board both flights, while the e-mails also included threats of explosives at Air Serbia’s headquarters in Belgrade and threats against the airline's staff. Turkish Airlines' evening service from Belgrade to Istnabul was also targeted. “Do you think we are now maintaining flights because they are profitable? They are not. Today [Sunday] I received a message from Air Serbia that for the first time there have been no threats on the Moscow flight. While the aircraft was somewhere above Slovakia, we received a threat. The flight continued as planned because we know these claims are fake. These threats are being orchestrated by foreign intelligence agencies from two countries. One is from the European Union and the other is Ukraine. They are doing it constantly”, Mr Vučić said. He added, “We no longer have any profit because we had to constantly divert these flights. Even the little money we did make we no longer have. We are maintaining these flights out of principle. Because we want to show to the world that we are a free nation that makes its own decisions. Don’t tell us when we should discontinue services. And I would like to ask those accusing us of having blood on our hands because of these flights and those that are being smart about it, did they suspend flights to the United States, London, Paris or Berlin when Serbia was being bombed?”. The spokesperson for the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oleg Nikolenko, has since rejected Mr Vučić’s claims that his country was partaking in the threats. The Serbian Ministry for Internal Affairs said, "The police are working intensively, in cooperation with the Prosecutor's Office for High-Tech Crime, to collect information related to the perpetrators of this crime and we will officially request assistance through international operational police cooperation to obtain additional information on the perpetrators and organisers of these crimes". The Ministry added that the bomb threats targeting Air Serbia, Belgrade Airport and most recently three shopping malls in Serbia came from the same address.