Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a press point following a meeting with Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, Belgrade, June 18, 2020
Thank you for the opportunity to have this meeting. The situation in the Balkans is uneasy, as it is in other regions of the world. It is not getting any better. There are many risks and threats that it may escalate. I mean the Middle East and North Africa. The fallout of these crises is heard increasingly louder on the European continent. Remarkably radical sentiments emerge during these conflicts, including extremist attacks on Christians, particularly Orthodox Christians. The situation is aggravated by the rather aggressive promotion of neoliberal values by our Western partners, who are trying to impose them on everybody else. Under the circumstances, all responsible nations must stand up for their history, culture and traditions passed down by their ancestors.
Russia and Serbia, together with a number of like-minded countries, are firmly pursuing this course. In these efforts, we are working in the same direction as Orthodox churches, including the Russian Orthodox Church and the Serbian Orthodox Church, which have traditionally defended their centuries-old values and have always acted as peacemakers.
Not everybody likes it, especially those who are trying to establish their “unique” rules for the entire globe. This is why Orthodox churches are under assault in all the countries where they exist. These assaults should be countered with the strength of spirit which has always been characteristic of Orthodox people. Russia will always defend the interests of Orthodox churches and defy attempts of state interference in their affairs, acting hand in hand with Orthodox churches and their heads in promoting peacemaking ideals to settle numerous conflicts in our common space.