BELGRADE – The Serbian Armed Forces (SAF) personnel is certain to see a salary increase by the end of the year, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic announced on Tuesday, noting that a stronger Serbian economy would be capable of strengthening the country’s armed forces.

Efforts will be made to achieve this in the coming period, Vucic said at Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla Airport, where he attended a handover of two Mi-17 transport helicopters purchased from Russia.

Vucic also announced greater investments in the fighter air force – MiG 29 jets in particular – adding that substantial funds would be earmarked for that purpose next year.

After 36 years, the SAF has acquired new transport helicopters, Vucic said, thanking the Ministry of Defence for cost cuts, as well as everyone who had made the EUR 25 million purchase possible.

The helicopters arrived in Belgrade at around 3 am and the handover was attended by Serbian government ministers, Serbian Air Force and Air Defence Commander Maj Gen Ranko Zivak and officials of the Russian military mission to Serbia.