BELGRADE–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Thursday spoke at a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade to discuss his congressional delegation visit to the Western Balkans. Murphy met with President Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, and paid his respects at the Vladislav Ribnikar School where nine students and one adult were killed in a mass shooting this month.

On Russia’s war on Ukraine, Murphy said: “My country is consumed by this question of preserving the post-WWII order, in which bigger countries don't get to expand their borders by invading smaller countries. What Russia has done in Ukraine is unacceptable. Not just their decision to invade a neighbor, but their decision to target civilians, families, children. These are crimes of epic proportions, and it requires the entire world to condemn what has happened inside Ukraine and to take all possible measures to bring this conflict to a close as soon as possible. I appreciate President Vucic’s use of strong words. He’s made clear that Serbia stands against this aggression. I look forward to continuing the dialogue about how we can better align our policies.”

On Serbia’s relationship with the EU and the United States, Murphy said: “The future for Serbia is with the European Union and with the United States. Not with Russia. There's no future with Russia. They're going to be devastated, a permanent pariah internationally after this invasion. I completely understand the historical relationship between Serbia and Russia, but my hope is that we continue to work on alignment of policy. I appreciate the fact that Serbia has stood with us in the United Nations. I appreciate the statements that President Vucic has made. But we will continue to try to press the case for why it's better for the Serbian people to be aligned with the United States and the European Union on sanctions.”

On the Kosovo-Serbia normalization agreement, Murphy said: “It’s something that both Serbia and Kosovo should be immensely proud of, and the work now is about implementation. Sometimes the agreements are easy compared to the implementation. I know the focus here is on the Association of [Serb-majority] Municipalities. But let's be honest that that agreement requires both sides to take steps simultaneously towards implementation. And so our belief is that at the same time Serbia has to implement its side of the agreement while Kosovo implements its requirements. And I'll be honest with you, when we were in Kosovo, I made clear both publicly and privately that Kosovo has to live up to the promises it's made, and for almost 10 years, Kosovo has committed to establishing an Association of [Serb-majority] Municipalities. I believe they can do that in complete adherence with their constitution. And I do not think it's an unreasonable step to take if the consequence of that is a normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo. And so I think the time is now for Kosovo to act. But I think Serbia has got to make clear that they are going to live up to their end of that agreement as well. I don't think time is on our side. When you get an agreement of historic proportions in Ohrid, you need to move forward quickly.”

On Serbia’s response to recent mass shootings, Murphy said: “I hope that Serbia responds differently than the United States does. The United States has become numb to these mass atrocities. The United States has not shown the courage it should to stand up for its citizens and pass laws that keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous people and keep dangerous weapons off the street. Serbia has an opportunity to show the world that indifference is not an option when a mass shooting like this captivates the nation. And my hope is that the government can come together with the opposition soon in the coming weeks to pass measures that make sure that only the right people have access to weapons.”