Serbian Foreign Ministry Says Rossia Must Offer an Apology

The Serbian Foreign Ministry has demanded that Rossia state television apologize after its news anchor said slain former Yugoslavian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic "got a well-deserved bullet" for his pro-Western policies.

Konstantin Syomin, an anchor on Rossia's nightly news program "Vesti Plus," made the on-air statement late Thursday, and on Saturday the Serbian Embassy in Moscow sent a letter to the channel's management demanding that it publicly repudiate the comments, RIA-Novosti reported.

In the broadcast, Syomin describes Djindjic as "a Western puppet" who "destroyed the legendary Serbian army." He accused Djindjic, who was assassinated in 2003, of "selling the heroes of Serbian resistance to The Hague in exchange for abstract economic aid."

Footage of the broadcast was posted on YouTube.

In the letter sent to Rossia television, Serbian officials called Syomin's comments "offensive" and "absolutely unacceptable" and said the anchor was "justifying the murder of the democratically elected prime minister," Gazeta.ru reported.

Repeated calls to the channel for comment went unanswered Monday.

Serbian officials expressed regret that Syomin's comments appeared at a time when Serbia was facing "the problem of preserving its sovereignty and territorial integrity" in the wake of Kosovo's declaration of independence, Gazeta.ru said.

Djindjic -- a key leader of the revolution that toppled former President Slobodan Milosevic in October 2000 -- was murdered on March 12, 2003.

Djindjic saw Serbia's fate as linked to the West and favored greater cooperation with the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.