The Russian Foreign Ministry has reacted to what it called “another series of anti-Russian statements” made in Podgorica by US Vice President Mike Pence.

A statement issued by the MFA’s Information and Press Department said that Pence was “scaring leaders of Western Balkan states with a mythic ‘Russian threat’ and went as far as to accuse our country of attempts to redraw the borders in the region by force.”

“We have to state with regret that Washington is sliding more deeply into using primitive ideology-driven clichés of the Cold War era, which are totally out of touch with reality. Imposing on the Balkan countries a blatantly destructive choice of being ‘either with the West or with Russia’ inevitably leads to rising tensions on the European continent and destabilizes the situation in the region and separate states,” the Russian ministry said, and added:

“Moreover, Washington is actively promoting the idea that there is no alternative to the accession of all South East European countries to NATO and presses ahead with projects based on unscrupulous competition and contradicting economic logic.”

“We would like to remind,” the statement continued, “that it was the United States and its allies that blatantly violated international law in 1999 by illegally using force to separate Kosovo from Serbia.”

“This resulted in another conflict spot in Europe. Under harsh pressure from Washington, Podgorica formalized Montenegro’s membership in NATO on June 5, 2017, despite the opinion of the majority of its citizens. The United States and the European Union did not hesitate to ignore the will of the voters in Macedonia and did not allow the party that won the December 11, 2016 elections to form the government,” the Russian MFA said, and asked:

“So who is interfering in the internal affairs and using force in the Balkans? Is it Moscow or Washington?”

The ministry also “urges American colleagues to stop demonizing Russia and its foreign policy – which has always been based on respect for partners, readiness for joint constructive work, and mutual consideration of interests.”

Pence, who was in Montenegro this week for the Adriatic Charter Summit, accused Russia of attempting to “redraw international borders by force” and of trying to “destabilize the Western Balkans.”

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, whose country has observer status in the organization, reacted to say it was “the West, not Russia, that was redrawing Serbia’s borders.”