The Serbian government has purchased medium-range, radar-guided, surface to air missiles from China, the latest example of growing cooperation between the two nations.
As reported by Reuters, the FK-3 missile defence system was a part of state arms company Jugoimport SDPR’s annual report. This was submitted to the Business Registers Agency last week and was seen by Reuters.
According to the report, some 163 import deals were made with 31 countries, totalling $620.3 million in 2019 alone. Amongst the weapons purchased were armed drones from China. This would make it the first purchase of such equipment in Europe.
In 2018, Jugoimport spent £482.7 million on imports which included Russian-made helicopter gunships and transport helicopters.
China has invested a significant amount in Serbia including soft loans, energy projects and infrastructure. This is a part of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative. The initiative includes telecoms, media, transport, and infrastructure and has raised concerns in the West that it could be used to exert political influence and control over other countries, from Beijing.
Serbia’s increasingly close relationship with Russia has also caused concern as it is seen as an example of the country veering away from the EU and the rest of the West. Russia apparently donated tanks and armoured combat vehicles to Serbia, and President Aleksander Vucic gifted Russian leader Vladimir Putin with a puppy.