Europe

Serbian FM seeks diplomatic status for Russian-run base

Serbia's foreign minister has urged his country's authorities to grant diplomatic status to the Russian staff of a controversial facility that some consider a spy base but Russia insists is a disaster relief center.

Ivica Dacic told the Politika daily on Friday that the upgraded status for the center in the central Serbian town of Nis "needs to be solved."

Some military analysts say the Russians are eavesdropping on American military interests in the Balkans from the so-called "Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center." Russia denies that.

"Western countries have their objections, although they received the same (protected status) through agreements with Serbia," Dacic said.

Serbia is formally seeking EU membership, but under the current populist leadership has been sliding toward its traditional ally, Russia.