In spite of warnings, more and more Russian weapons in Serbia
Vucic wants to make Serbia like Russia and himself like Putin. According to Russian media, Serbia is one of the largest importers of Russian weapons and military equipment in Europe.
The President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, has reiterated that Serbia can obtain the most powerful and advanced weapons from Russia. Russian Defense Group “Rosoboronexport” is ready to consider a possible request from Serbia as soon as possible, regarding the delivery of the air defense system, said the director of that Russian corporation, Alexander Miheyev, after the fair of military equipment “Arshow 2021” held in Dubai, reported the pro-Russian media Sputnik.
In 2017, Russia donated 6 used MiG-29 fighter jets to Serbia, though the value of the donation remains secret, while Serbia paid 185 million euros for overhaul and modernization. In 2019, Russia provided another donation to Serbia 30, namely BRDM-2 armored vehicles. That same year, Serbia bought four Mi-35M combat helicopters from its ally and friend, worth 10m to 20m euros.
From 2018 to February 2020, Russia delivered to Serbia four Russian-made Mi-35M helicopters, six MiG-29 fighter jets, ten BRDM-2 reconnaissance and patrol armored vehicles, three Mi-17V-5 transport helicopters and parts of his military and technical assistance.
The first part of the delivery of the six “Pancir S1” systems, which Serbia ordered from Russia, arrived last year. Thus, Serbia has become the only country in the region that has this modern anti-aircraft system. Bulgaria’s Atlantic Council later expressed concerns over Russia’s decision to deliver the “Pancir S1” to Serbia.
The fact that “Pancir” will be delivered to Serbia was not a secret, but how much it costs the citizens of Serbia, is something no official or institution wants to go public. Serbian authorities have also announced that Serbia is considering the purchase of Russian weapons and military equipment, first of all the total air defense system “Pancir” and “Krasuha”, multi-role combat helicopters Mi-35 and Mi-17, as anti-tank missiles.
Referring to some Russian state actions, can be concluded that the main tool of their foreign policy is the threat of force majeure to force the opponent to obey and refrain from decisions that Russia sees as a threat to its interests.
The President of Serbia has shown more than once, but it can be said and proved that he is trying to make Serbia Russia and himself like Russian President Putin. Serbia’s armament itself poses insecurity and danger to the region. The rhetorical question is whether Serbia uses the promotion of Russian weapons and military systems for the issue of Kosovo, and does it want to intimidate and cause additional tensions?
Vucic used Serbia’s budget to buy weapons and various anti-aircraft systems, although there were no such threats, instead of providing a better future for the citizens of Serbia.
The newly purchase of weapons and military equipment from Russia has caused concern in Brussels and Washington at the beginning of 2021. In a statement to Voice of America on February 25, a spokesman for the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Peter Stano, said it was necessary for Serbia to harmonize its foreign policy with that of the European Union.
Possible sanctions against Serbia for the first time were mentioned in November 2019, by the US Secretary of State for the Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer.