BELGRADE – Belgrade has asked Moscow for deliveries of Russian-made weaponry with the goal to increase Serbia’s defense potential, Serbian Foreign Minster Ivica Dacic said Monday.
At a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Belgrade, Dacic said: “We are hoping to significantly increase our defense capability…to ensure that nobody can threaten our territorial integrity and independence.”
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic’s visit to Russia due to take place on December 21 will focus on an agreement on supplies of Russian weapons, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Monday.
“The matter is that Serbia has asked Russia to provide certain defense products. It is not a sale-and-purchase deal. Serbia is not buying weapons, Russia is donating weapons and equipment,” Dacic said at a joint news conference with his visiting Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
“The prime minister’s (Vucic’s) visit on December 21 will yield a final agreement on the implementation of this project,” he said, adding that the deal implies aircraft and some other products.
When asked to comment on Brussels’ possible reaction to the deal, Dacic said, “Russia and Serbia are strategic partners and have a relevant agreement.” “When NATO countries are arming Croatia, everybody is saying these are not offensive weapons and they are not targeted at anyone,” the Serbian top diplomat went on to say. “And I would like to ask a question who these weapons could be targeted against? Are they going to use them against Vienna, Budapest or Rome?”
He said that judging by their logic it looks like “if they are arming themselves they are gearing themselves for peace but if we are arming ourselves we are gearing for a war.”
“No one should think that he can attack Serbia or endanger Republika Srpska without a relevant reaction from Serbia,” Dacic stressed.
Lavrov refused to comment on the details of the possible deal.
“We will not comment on details of those agreements that are now being discussed between Russia and Serbia on military-technical cooperation, relating to concrete nomenclature of those defense products that interest Serbia,” he said.
“We can only say that our Serbian friends consider this important for strengthening their security, their defense capabilities. We will be ready to consider this constructively,” he added.
“I don’t think we should talk about concrete types of weapons, let alone price factors. In any normal military-technical deal, this information is confidential,” the foreign minister noted.