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Air space was closed by three NATO countries to prevent Sergei Lavrov’s visit
Russia said Bulgaria, Romania and Montenegro had closed his route to Serbia.

The head of the Russian space agency ‘Roscosmos’ Dmitry Rogozin hit back, threatening the countries with the Satan-2 intercontinental ballistic missile
‘Do you know what is so good about Sarmat?’ he tweeted.

‘It will not ask for a flying permit from Bulgarian cowards, vindictive Romanians and Montenegrins’.

Russia’s foreign minister had been to due to hold talks with officials in Belgrade,
Serbia is one of the few European countries to maintain close ties to Russia since Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine of February 24.

The head of the Russian space agency ‘Roscosmos’ Dmitry Rogozin hit back, threatening the countries with the Satan-2 intercontinental ballistic missile.

Moscow’s space chief issued wild threats overnight about launching Russia’s ‘Satan-2’ hypersonic missile against NATO countries after Vladimir Putin’s top diplomat was blocked from travelling to Serbia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was forced to cancel his visit after Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro – three NATO countries around Serbia – closed their airspace to his aircraft, infuriating the Kremlin.

The head of the Russian space agency ‘Roscosmos’ Dmitry Rogozin.

The head of Russian space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, hit back at the move saying that while Bulgaria, Romania and Montenegro could stop his plane, they would not halt a 208-ton, 15,880mph Sarmat missile – a.k.a the Satan-2.

He Tweeted: ‘Do you know what is so good about Sarmat [ballistic missile]?

‘It will not ask for a flying permit from Bulgarian cowards, vindictive Romanians and Montenegrins – who betrayed our joint history.’

The same would apply to the Swedes who are set on joining NATO, he said.

Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov had been to due to hold talks with top officials in Belgrade, one of Moscow’s few remaining allies in Europe since the launch of its brutal invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
meetings were set for June 6-7.

His flight was however, blocked by three NATO countries.
Rogozin’s message brought a hail of abuse aimed at the outspoken space chief along with memes ridiculing him.

‘Judging by your army performance, a missile aimed at Bulgaria will fall somewhere by Irkutsk [in Siberia]’, said one response.

Another told him: ‘Can you please stop typing in Cyrillic … Bulgarian cowards do not want trash like you using their letters. Glory to Ukraine.’

He was also told: ‘Fed up with your mentions of the past. Why don’t you speak about the future? Because there is no future for Russia with guys like you.

‘You are at a dead end. You are not Russia. You are mafia, who illegally took power.’

Another critic said: ‘You write about the beauty of Sarmat that kills people. Are you out of your mind?’

Officials in Moscow have boasted that the Satan-2, an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking targets at 15,880mph, will be deployed in autumn.

The Sarmat missile is said to be the world’s longest-range intercontinental ballistic missile, capable of striking a target 11,200 miles away – meaning it could easily strike targets in the US and Europe from Russia.

Western military experts have said the Sarmat is capable of carrying 10 or more nuclear warheads and decoys – easily enough to wipe out territories the size of Britain or France in a single strike.

Rogozin was backed by Russian TV journalist Alexander Sladkov, who posted: ‘All states that refused flight passage to our Sergei Lavrov should have their summer holidays season closed and put onto the stop-list of flights over Russia.’

These rogue states ‘should be held responsible’, he said. There were ‘shameful mutts,’ said pro-Kremlin journalist Yulia Vityazeva.

But independent journalist Tatyana Felgenhauer called it a ‘beautiful’ move to block Lavrov.

‘An unthinkable thing has happened,’ Lavrov said during an online news conference Monday. ‘A sovereign state has been deprived of its right to conduct foreign policies. The international activities of Serbia on the Russian track have been blocked.’

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic earlier Monday met with Russia’s ambassador to Serbia who informed him that Lavrov could not come because the Russian government plane was denied necessary flyover permissions, a statement issued after the meeting said.

Vucic expressed ‘dissatisfaction’ over the ‘circumstances’ that prevented the visit and added that ‘despite all, Serbia will preserve independence and autonomy in political decision-making.’

Lavrov blamed NATO countries for engineering the flight ban – Montenegro, Bulgaria and North Macedonia are all members of NATO – noting that the action showed again that the main purpose of the alliance expansion is to try to isolate Russia.

Lavrov is set to travel to Turkey on Wednesday, where he can fly directly over the Black Sea. Turkey has sought to harbor good relations with both Russia and Ukraine while also trying to help international mediation efforts in the crisis.

The Russian foreign minister said the West has trampled on the principle of a free choice of foreign policy partners.

‘From the Western viewpoint, Serbia mustn’t have any choice, any freedom in choosing its partners,’ he said. ‘The West clearly shows that it would use any base means to apply pressure.’

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov deplored what he described as ‘hostile actions,’ but said this ‘won’t significantly hamper the continuation of our country’s contacts with friendly countries like Serbia.’

In Belgrade, Serbia’s pro-Russian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin expressed ‘deep regret’ that a ‘great and proven’ friend of Serbia could not come. Vulin added that ‘Serbia is proud that it is not part of anti-Russian hysteria, and the countries that are (part of it) will have time to be ashamed.’

Serbia, meanwhile, also is almost fully dependent on Russian gas. Vucic recently talked to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone to arrange a new deal on gas supplies for the next three years.

Analyst Slobodan Stupar described Lavrov’s attempted visit to Belgrade as a ‘show’ that would have been used by Moscow to further vilify the West.

‘I believe the Russians invited themselves’ to Serbia, Stupar told The Associated Press. ‘They are terribly isolated. … They can now say that Europe and the world are not democratic and won’t allow a simple flyover.’

Stupar said Vucic has placed himself ‘in between’ Russia and the West.

‘That is the worst possible position one can imagine,’ Stupar said.

Russian news agencies quoted ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying: ‘The countries around Serbia have closed the channel of communication by refusing to authorise the overflight of the plane of Sergei Lavrov who was headed to Serbia.

‘The Russian delegation should have arrived in Belgrade for talks. But the EU and NATO member countries closed their airspace.’

‘This is another closed channel of communication,’ Ms Zakharova added.

Russian news agencies quoted foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying the airspace around Serbia had been closed to Lavrov’s place.

While Serbia has condemned Russia’s military action in Ukraine, it has not joined the European Union in imposing sanctions in Moscow, despite its bid to join the EU.

Serbian daily Vecernje Novosti reported that Bulgaria, Macedonia and Montenegro had refused access to their airspace.

A Russian diplomatic source told news agency Interfax there had been no choice but to cancel the visit.

‘Russian diplomacy has not yet learned how to teleport,’ the source said.

Lavrov had been due to meet President Aleksandar Vucic, his counterpart Nikola Selakovic and Serbian Patriarch Porfirije.

While Serbia has condemned Russia’s military action in Ukraine, it has not joined the European Union in imposing sanctions in Moscow, despite its bid to join the EU.

The two countries enjoy longstanding close ties and Belgrade recently signed a new three-year contract to receive Russian natural gas – while other European countries have taken steps to reduce their reliance on it.

Serbia has also seen a number of pro-Russian rallies in its cities. In early March, thousands of Russia supporters marched through the Serbian capital, waving Russian flags and displaying the military and nationalist ‘Z’ symbol.

Lavrov’s blocked diplomatic visit came after Russia struck Kyiv with missiles for the first time in more than a month on Sunday.

One person was reported hospitalised. Dark smoke could be seen from many miles away after the attack on two outlying districts.

Ukraine said the strike hit a rail car repair works, while Moscow said it had destroyed tanks sent by Eastern European countries to Ukraine.

Ukraine said Russia had carried out the Kyiv strike using long-range air-launched missiles fired from heavy bombers as far away as the Caspian Sea.

Russia says the strikes are part of a campaign to degrade Ukraine’s military infrastructure and block Western arms shipments.

President Vladimir Putin warned the United States on Sunday that Russia would strike new targets if the West supplied longer-range missiles to Ukraine for use in high-precision mobile rocket systems.

Britain said on Monday it would supply Ukraine with multiple-launch rocket systems that can strike targets up to 50 miles away, a move that was coordinated with the United States in response to Russia’s invasion.

Meanwhile, heavy fighting continues in Sievierodonetsk and Russian forces are pushing towards Sloviansk, which lies about 53 miles to the west, Britain’s Ministry of Defence said on Monday.

Both sides say they have inflicted huge casualties in Sievierodonetsk.

In Lysychansk, Russian forces fired on a bakery and several administrative and residential buildings, Gaidai said on Monday, adding one civilian had been wounded.

Evacuations resumed from the Ukrainian-held part of Luhansk province on Sunday, and 98 people had escaped, Gaidai said.

The governor of Russia’s western Kursk region, Roman Starovoit, said the border village of Tyotkino had come under fire from Ukraine on Monday morning that targeted a bridge and some businesses.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Ukraine’s military reported that its forces repelled seven attacks in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions on Sunday, destroying four tanks and shooting down a combat helicopter. It was not immediately possible to verify the battlefield reports.

By Odoh Dominic Chukwuemeka

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