Friday, 22 July 2022

Milanović Comments on Russia's Decision to Declare Croatia Hostile Country

ZAGREB, 22 July 2022 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović on Friday commented on the Russian government's decision to include Croatia on its list of hostile countries.

"We are not at war, but this has been going on for months. We are on hostile terms with Russia. We are not in it so actively like other countries that are in fact at war. This is a very dangerous situation that threatens to evolve into something enormous. I hope it does not," Milanović said.

The Russian government has added Croatia, Denmark, Greece, Slovakia, and Slovenia to its list of hostile countries, against which it is taking countermeasures, the RIA Novosti news agency reported on Friday.

Croatia and Slovenia can no longer employ local staff in their diplomatic and consular posts. Greece is allowed to hire up to 34 people, Denmark 20 and Slovakia 16.

"The list approved by the government is not final and could be expanded given the continued hostile actions of foreign states against Russian missions abroad,” the Russian government said in a statement.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 11 April 2022

Croatia Expels 18 Russian Diplomats

11 April 2022 - Croatia has expelled 18 Russian diplomats and six members of administrative staff, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs said in a statement on Monday.

Croatia notified the Russian ambassador about the reduction of the number of diplomatic and administrative staff at the Russian Embassy on Monday.

"Eighteen diplomats and six members of administrative staff (24 employees in total) at the Embassy of the Russian Federation have been asked to leave the Republic of Croatia," the statement said.

Croatia thus joined other European countries, including Poland, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, in expelling Russian diplomats over the Russian military invasion of Ukraine. Neighbouring Slovenia will expel 33 Russian diplomats.

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs once again strongly condemned "the brutal aggression on Ukraine and numerous war crimes committed."

Russia was once again called upon to immediately cease its military activities, withdraw its troops from the entire territory of Ukraine, and secure evacuation and aid supply routes.

Croatia also called on Russia to bring those responsible for war crimes to justice.

Monday, 7 March 2022

PM: If You Are on Russia's List, You've Pursued a Good Policy

7 March 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Monday commented on a list of enemy countries released by Russia, which includes Croatia, and added that "if you're on that list, then you've pursued a good policy, you can be proud of that".

He said that 1.8 million people had fled Ukraine to date and that according to estimates, the number would be higher and higher.

Plenković reiterated that he supported Ukraine's EU path, adding that the method of accession required some time.

"I understand that political desire, Croatia will definitely be a voice of support," he said, expressing some doubt whether all of that was realistic "in such a short time."

He also pointed out that the stability of Southeast Europe, especially Bosnia and Herzegovina, was in Croatia's interest.

"The most important thing is that a political agreement is reached between the constituent peoples on just changes to the electoral law which will stop the long-term practice of electoral engineering," he said.

The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leadership today also discussed the government decision on cushioning fuel price hikes.

"Our basic tasks will be to ensure energy supply, security, which has gained a new dimension, and we will try to reduce the impact on the citizens' standard of living," Plenković said, adding that the circumstances were such that they required intervention from the state.

Monday, 17 January 2022

Former Ambassador Azimov Says Croatia Bridge Between Russia and EU

ZAGREB, 17 Jan 2022 - Russia is absolutely sure that it would renew its strategic cooperation with the European Union sooner or later, and Croatia is playing an important role as a bridge between Moscow and Brussels, the former Russian ambassador to Croatia, Anvar Azimov, said on Monday.

Relations between Russia and Croatia prove that any country's membership of NATO and the EU is not an obstacle to improving relations, Azimov told Hina ahead of a meeting at the Russian-Croatian Friendship Association, which was also attended by Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Gordan Grlić Radman, at the end of his first meeting to Moscow.

We are very interested in improving our relations with EU members and we are absolutely sure that we will manage to renew our bilateral strategic cooperation with that alliance sooner or later because Russia and the EU are meant to be together, said the ambassador who left Zagreb in 2020 after five years.

In this regard, Croatia and some other European countries play an important role as a bridge between the EU and Russia, he underscored.

He said that the meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Gordan Grlić Radman was very open, friendly, and constructive and that the relations between Moscow and Zagreb were based on mutual trust and understanding of concerns.

We understand clearly that Croatia's foreign policy priorities are linked to Euro-Atlantic solidarity, but at the same time that is not an obstacle to Croatia's expansion of relations with countries like Russia, China, and India, Azimov said.

He said that Grlić Radman was one of the most successful European ministers, adding that he had cooperated with five Croatian foreign ministers, but that he had developed special relations with the current one.

I miss Croatia a lot, said Azimov.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Croatia Resumes Issuing Tourist Visas to Russians

ZAGREB, 7 April, 2021 - The Croatian Embassy to the Russian Federation has received initial applications for tourist visas from Russian citizens and currently there is a good interest on the Russian market in vacationing in Croatia, the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) said on Wednesday.

Russian national airline Aeroflot will fly from Moscow to Pula, Dubrovnik and Split every day from the start of June to the end of September, the HTZ said in a statement.

Currently, Aeroflot flies between Moscow and Zagreb once a week and plans to introduce a second weekly flight as of May, while in the summer it will operate on this route three times a week.

S7 Airlines will fly from Moscow to Pula and Dubrovnik from late April to late October, while Nordwind will connect Moscow and Zagreb during the same period.

The head of the HTZ office in Russia, Rajko Ružička, said that there is a growing demand on the Russian market for safe summer destinations, and that Croatia is one of them.

Russians can enter Croatia with a negative PCR or antigen test, a certificate proving that they have recovered from COVID-19 or a certificate showing that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, Ružička said.

A great interest in Croatian destinations has also been shown at the recent MITT travel show, the HTZ said.  

For more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Pandemic Has Affected Croatia-Russia Economic Relations, Forum Hears

ZAGREB, November 12, 2020 - The COVID pandemic has affected Croatian-Russian economic relations, with trade dropping 21% in the first seven months of the year, and the focus should be on turning the trend around, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) said on Thursday in a press release on a Russian-Croatian banking forum.

In the first seven months of 2020, trade between the two countries totalled US$ 228 million, down 21% on the year. We must focus on turning the trend around and work together on returning to the volume of trade which used to exceed $2 billion, the online forum was told.

Banks must play a key role in that, said Josip Zaher, the HGK vice president for commerce and financial institutions.

Croatian Ambassador to Russia Tomislav Car said relations between the two countries were slowly becoming dynamic.

"Both the interstate and economic elements are looking forward, which is a message of encouragement to all of us. However, behind all that are people with their knowledge and ambitions," he said, adding that the embassy and the HGK's Moscow office were always at entrepreneurs' disposal.

Russian Ambassador to Croatia Andrey Nesterenko said all efforts must be focused on the normalisation of relations, with emphasis on banking.

In these difficult times it is very important to continue with activities and maintain continuity in relations. It is also important to learn from one another, exchange ideas and thus find new opportunities in this crisis, he said, announcing that the intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation would meet soon.

The forum's main topic was banking in conditions of the coronavirus pandemic.

Zaher said commercial bank assets at the end of June totalled HRK 444.3 billion, up 4.4% from the end of 2019, while bank profits plunged 48% annually.

The forum was organised by the Association of Russian Banks and the HGK, with the support of the Russian and Moscow Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)