President Zoran Milanović repeatedly criticized the policy of the West towards Russia and the Balkans.
Croatia’s president on Monday criticized Western countries for supplying Ukraine with heavy tanks and other weapons in its campaign against invading Russian forces, saying the arms shipments would only prolong the war.
Zoran Milanović told reporters in the Croatian capital that it is “crazy” to believe that Russia can be defeated in a conventional war.
“I am against sending any lethal weapon,” said Milanović. “It prolongs the war.”
“What is the goal? Disintegration of Russia, change of government? There is also talk of the dismemberment of Russia. This is crazy,” he added.
Milanović won the 2019 presidential election in Croatia as a left-leaning liberal candidate, a counterpoint to the conservative government currently in power in the European Union and NATO member state.
But since then he has turned to populist nationalism and criticized Western policy towards Russia, as well as towards the Balkans.
Milanović built a reputation as a pro-Russian landmark, which he repeatedly denied.
However, in recent months he openly opposed the admission of Finland and Sweden to NATO, as well as the training of Ukrainian troops in Croatia as part of EU aid to that threatened country.
After months of hesitation, the US said last week it would send 31 of the 70-ton Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine, and Germany announced it would send 14 Leopard 2 tanks and allow other countries to do the same.
Milanović said that “from 2014 to 2022, we are watching someone provoke Russia with the intention of starting this war.”
“What is the goal of this war? A war against a nuclear power at war in another country? Is there a conventional way to defeat such a state?” Milanović asked on Monday.
“Who pays the price? Europe. America pays the least,” he said. “A year has passed, and we are only now talking about tanks,” Milanović said.
“Not a single American tank will go to Ukraine in a year. Only German tanks will be sent there.”
Although the presidential function in Croatia is mostly ceremonial, Milanović is formally the supreme commander of the armed forces.
His latest anti-Western outbursts have embarrassed and irritated the country’s government, which has fully supported Ukraine.