Putin and Vucic of Serbia discuss expanding energy cooperation
BELGRADE (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed expanding Moscow’s economic cooperation with Belgrade, including in the energy sector, with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic, the Kremlin said on Wednesday.
Following European Union sanctions against Russian companies linked to the latter’s invasion of Ukraine, the Croatian oil transport company Jadranski Naftovod (JANAF) has declared that the transport of crude oil via the Adriatic Oil Pipeline for Serbian oil company NIS – majority owned by Gazprom Neft – will shut down on May 15.
JANAF said it has a contract with NIS to transport a total of 3.2 million tonnes of crude oil this year.
“President Vucic briefed President Putin on the difficulties Serbia is facing regarding crude oil imports and expressed confidence that Gazprom Neft and its EU partners will find a solution to such a situation,” the statement read. from Vucic’s office.
Vucic and Putin also discussed the supply of natural gas for which Serbia’s contract expires on May 31.
“Discussions on the new contract should be initiated as soon as possible,” the statement read.
Serbia gets all of its gas imports from Russia, and Gazprom is the majority owner of the country’s only gas storage facility.
Vucic, who overwhelmingly won the presidential election on Sunday and whose Serbian Progressive Party won the parliamentary vote, said he would continue his policy of EU membership even if friendly relations are maintained with the Russia, the statement said.
Putin and Vucic also discussed recent events in Ukraine, Vucic’s office said in the statement.
(Reporting by Reuters and Ivana Sekularac; Editing by Bernadette Baum)