BELGRADE – Serbia’s President Tomislav Nikolic on Wednesday thanked Russia for supporting in his country’s national interests on the international scene, TASS reports.

“The challenges facing us today are no less important than those that our great and wise predecessors had faced,” Nikolic said at the opening ceremony of Serbia’s Honorary Consulate in Russia’s city of St. Petersburg.

“Russia and Serbia have sacrificed many human lives so that we could live in a free world, the true value of which we realize well and devote ourselves to preserving it.”

According to Nikolic, the modern world, torn apart by various conflicts, can only be safe if the countries and peoples respect each other. “Serbia will be forever grateful to Russia and, first and foremost, President Putin for sincerely backing the preservation of our territorial integrity and defending our national interests internationally,” Nikolic stated.

“Vladimir Putin is a very insightful man who guarantees his country’s citizens a peaceful future,” the Serbian president said. “Today he is the only beacon for the peoples who aren’t strong enough and who are facing the threats of use of force. He also plays a most important role in the fight against the global scourge of terrorism.”.