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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

NATO Oil Plan Irks Russia

Russia reacted angrily Friday to what it called NATO's "policy of threats" over a planned Western oil embargo of Yugoslavia, making clear it would be guided only by its own national interests.

As the European Union's embargo came into effect, Montenegro f Serbia's tiny partner in the two-republic Yugoslav federation f pleaded to be exempted from the sanctions, saying they would destroy its battered economy.

Russia's leadership has been incensed by U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen's comment that vessels from any country shipping oil to Serbia would face "serious consequences" including military force by NATO warships.

"Regarding those hints of threats I can say that Russia will act according to its decisions," Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told reporters after a meeting with his Canadian counterpart Lloyd Axworthy in Moscow.

"I don't consider it reasonable to slide into a policy of threats, which would lead nowhere," he said.

Cohen said Thursday that he believed any oil deliveries would fall into the category of armed hostilities, demanding a stiff NATO response. "I believe there should be an interdiction of the supplies coming and I believe that force should always be an option."

The Defense Ministry echoed Ivanov's tough remarks.

"Russia is not a country that can be threatened, as Cohen is doing," said Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, who heads the ministry's international cooperation department.

"If there is a political decision [to go on with the embargo], Russia will defend its interests," Ivashov said.