By Talha Ozturk

BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – Croatia’s prime minister on Wednesday apologized to Ukraine after critical remarks by President Zoran Milanovic.

Milanovic on Tuesday said that Ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, it is economically stagnating, and the European Union has given it nothing.

”In the name of the government of Croatia, I would like to apologize to the people of Ukraine, one of the first countries to recognize Croatia,” Andrej Plenkovic told reporters after a party meeting.

He added that Milanovic’s statement was “unreal” and offensive. It also looked as if “it was said by a Russian official,” he said.

Defense Minister Mario Banozic also confirmed Plenkovic’s assertion that there are no Croatian soldiers in Ukraine.

“The closest place we have soldiers is Poland, where there are four officers,” said Banozic.

Russia recently amassed tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s eastern border, prompting fears that the Kremlin could be planning another military offensive against its ex-Soviet neighbor.

Moscow has denied it is preparing to invade and said its troops are there for exercises.

It has instead issued a list of security demands to NATO, including Ukraine not joining NATO, to calm existing tensions.

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