Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and other Serbian officials reacted furiously to a social media post by the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson ridiculing Vucic sitting across US President Donald Trump at his Oval Office table.
A social media post by the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson apparently ridiculing Serbia's president after he signed a US-sponsored agreement between Serbia and Kosovo has triggered a rare spat between traditional allies Moscow and Belgrade.
Maria Zakharova posted a photo showing Vucic sitting across US President Donald Trump at his Oval Office table.
She posted that along with another photo, the iconic scene from thriller "Basic Instinct" showing Sharon Stone being questioned by police as she sits cross-legged in a chair.
Zakharova mocked Vucic in a comment on the Facebook post, saying that he was invited to the White House to be interrogated.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and other Serbian officials reacted furiously.
"The primitivism and vulgarity she showed speaks about herself, but also about those who have given her the job," Vucic told the pro-government Pink TV.
Zakharova apologised on Twitter later on Sunday, saying her post had been misinterpreted.
Vucic said that while in Washington he defended Serbia’s close ties with Russia, including an arms purchase, and his refusal to impose Western sanctions against Moscow over its policies in Ukraine.
Marko Djuric, an official with Vucic’s ruling party, defended him on Twitter.
“This president did not say a single bad word against Russia, not even in that place (the White House.) The president waited for an hour and half to be received by the Russian president and never asked for a special chair. I will not allow you to attack proud Serbia. Shame on you!” Djuric wrote.
Although formally seeking membership in the European Union, Serbia has been forging close political, economic and military ties with Russia and China.
Trump announced on Friday that former wartime foes Serbia and Kosovo have agreed to normalise economic ties as part of US-brokered talks that include Belgrade moving its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, and mutual recognition between Israel and Kosovo.
The announcement provided Trump with a diplomatic win ahead of the November presidential election and furthers his administration’s push to improve Israel’s international standing.
The agreement also calls on Serbia to diversify its energy supplies which are now fully in Russia’s hands — something unlikely to be approved by Moscow.