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Europe Exposes Its Weakness to Russia and China in the Balkans

  • EU leaders meeting to discuss expansion into western Balkans
  • Trade and Iran are also on agenda for leaders’ summit in Sofia
Aleksandar Vucic
Aleksandar VucicPhotographer: Oliver Bunic/Bloomberg
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Three times a week at 6:30 a.m., Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic sits down for his Russian class. The aim, he says, is to be able to chat as fluently with Vladimir Putin as he does with western leaders in English.

The desire for language parity reflects the traditional geopolitical balancing act by Serbia, a country historically and culturally pulled both east and west. With European Union membership still years away, Vucic is fostering ties with Russia while courting money from China for industrial and infrastructure projects.