Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said US national security adviser John Bolton smiled at the suggestion of US influence on Macedonia to change its name.
Bolton visited Russia this week for talks with senior officials. Lavrov told the "Moscow. Kremlin. Putin" show on the Rossiya 1 tv channel he had brought up Macedonia after Bolton mentioned Russia's alleged influence campaign in the United States.
"I told him we were accused of meddling not only in the US, but also in Spain, in Brexit and now also in anything that happens in Western Balkans ... We said we kept silent on Macedonia's referendum, while its capital of Skopje was visited by NATO chief Stoltenberg, defense minister Mattis, German chancellor Merkel.
.. who publicly and bluntly demanded that Macedonians vote for their future and say 'yes' in a referendum on their membership of the EU and NATO by 'only' changing their country's name," Lavrov said.
The referendum flopped and the Macedonian parliament voted to start amending the constitution, with the "remaining nine votes admittedly obtained through bribes and promises not to start criminal persecution ... The US ambassador was in the Macedonian parliament all that time and he did not just stay there ... That's what I said to Bolton, but he only smiled and said it was not an easy country," Lavrov concluded.