March 18, 2019 / 2:54 PM / in a month

Russia accuses Serbian opposition of stoking violence with protests

FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators face-off with riot police at a protest against Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and his government in front of the presidential building in Belgrade, Serbia, March 17, 2019. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday it was seriously concerned by what it described as attempts by some opposition forces in Serbia to provoke violence during protests in Belgrade over the weekend.

Thousands of anti-government protesters staged a rally outside President Aleksandar Vucic’s residence on Sunday to press their demands for greater media freedom and free and fair elections, a day after they briefly broke into the state television building.

Russia’s foreign ministry noted what it called the “measured and balanced” reaction to the protests by authorities in Serbia, a close ally of Russia.

Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Andrew Osborn

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