BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia’s chief on Monday praised Russian President Vladimir Putin for reinforcing the Balkan nation’s navy with battle tanks and armored automobiles, amid Western fears that the arms buildup might threaten fragile peace within the area.
President Aleksandar Vucic inspected the supply of 10 not too long ago arrived Russian armored patrol automobiles at a Serbian military navy base, a part of the promised provide of 30 secondhand T-72 tanks and 30 BRDM-2 reconnaissance automobiles.
The automobiles have been delivered regardless of neighboring Romania’s refusal to allow them to transit by way of the Danube River due to worldwide sanctions in place towards Moscow over its actions in Ukraine. Romania is a NATO member whereas Serbia claims navy neutrality regardless of shut ties with Moscow.
Media stories say Russia flew the 10 armored automobiles to Serbia final week on its transport planes utilizing Hungarian airspace.
“A very powerful factor for us is that we managed to move the automobiles to Serbia,” Vucic mentioned. “How and which approach they got here, that’s our enterprise.”
Russia has been serving to its ally Serbia beef up its navy, elevating issues within the war-scarred Balkan area. Through the bloody breakup of the previous Yugoslavia within the 1990s, Serbia was at battle with neighbors Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo.
Serbia, the one remaining Russian ally within the area regardless of its proclaimed purpose of becoming a member of the European Union, has already obtained six MiG-29 fighter jets from Russia and expects the supply of extra assault and transport helicopters by the top of this yr.
Vucic thanked Putin for “the strengthening of the fight functionality of our armed forces.”
Russian Ambassador Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko, who attended the ceremony on Monday, said that Moscow was able to proceed its help for Belgrade, claiming that the strengthening of Serbia’s navy is the “strengthening of the safety of the area.”
“Russia is prepared and can at all times be prepared for navy and technical cooperation with Serbia,” he mentioned, including: “We are going to proceed working on this path.”
There are fears within the West that Russia might push Serbia towards one other battle, particularly towards its former province of Kosovo that proclaimed independence in 2008. Serbia and Russia do not acknowledge Kosovo’s statehood.