President Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia has thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin personally for providing support to “strengthen” the Serbian military.
Last week Russia delivered 10 BRDM-2 armored patrol vehicles to a Serbian military base in Nis, Serbia. The military supply is part of a much larger aid package that includes six MiG-29 fighter jets delivered to Serbia last year, 30 T-72 tanks and 30 BRDM-2 reconnaissance vehicles.
Speaking at the yesterday’s ceremony in Nis celebrating the delivery of the latest military supply, Vucic said:
“Now it is modern to speak badly about Putin, but I will be old-fashioned and I will say ‘Thank you to President Putin’. We did not pay for this, we got it as a gift, it’s important that our citizens know that.”
Russia’s Ambassador Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko ensured President Vucic that his country “is ready and will always be ready for military and technical cooperation with Serbia.”
Romania refused to allow Russia to transport the latest military supply of 10 reconnaissance vehicles through its territory due to EU sanctions imposed on Russia after invasion of Ukraine. Prime Minister Victor Orban of Hungary reportedly allowed the use of his country’s air space for the transport of supplies to Serbia.
“The most important thing for us is that we managed to transport the vehicles to Serbia. How and which way they came, that is our business,” Vucic told journalists.
Serbia is Russia’s biggest ally in the Balkans with strong collaboration at all fields. Whilst it claims military neutrality and refuses to join NATO, Serbia aims for membership in the EU. Vucic has often made it clear that his country would never join EU’s sanctions against Russia.
The strengthening of Serbian military through Russian aid has raised concerns in the Balkan region.