Lavrov: Macedonian MPs were locked up in offices, their phones taken away “to convince” them to vote

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It wasn’t just the bribes and blackmailes against opposition MPs, most were locked up in offices, their phones taken away from them with the US Ambassador present in Parliament – no this is not what I would call normal – says Russian FM in an interview.

He explains that it is clear that while Russia remained silent in the pre-referendum period, NATO’s Stoltenberg, US Secretary of Defense James Matiss, German Chancellor Merkel, Austrian Sebastian Kurz, UK’s Theresa May and many other representatives of the European Commission visited the capital of Macedonia, Skopje, and quite shamelessly asked citizens to vote “For” in the referendum for joining NATO and the EU, “only by” changing the name.

Such “insidious” and confusing phrasing of the Referendum question according to Macedonian laws is not allowed, in fact it’s clearly spelled out as illegal. A single question in a referendum is allowed, whereas here we had three, says Lavrov.

“Then, after the referendum very clearly collapsed not meeting the required census, a few days ago, the Macedonian Parliament voted to initiate a procedure for changing the Constitution. Nine votes were lacking because the opposition does not support them. It is public knowledge that these votes were secured by coercion and blackmail, and partly promising that the investigation against opposition lawmakers would not continue. Three lawmakers were released from custody just so they could vote. Several more votes were missing, and according to the information, there was an unacceptable behavior on the part of the MP deputies. Parts were locked up in their offices, and their cell phones seized. The US ambassador was present in Parliament during this entire time, he was there for a reason, to stand behind and support all the illegal activities. I told this to John Bolton, and he laughed saying that it was ‘a very difficult country’, “Lavrov said in an interview with Russian national television.