MOSCOW – As a token of support, Russia will give Serbia six MiG-29 planes as a gift, and the first stage of upgrading them will cost us 180-230 mln euros, PM Aleksandar Vucic said after a meeting with Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu Wednesday, Sputnik reported.

If you calculate the costs of buying such planes, you will see they would cost us around 600 mln euros, he said.

This will dramatically improve the Serbian Armed Forces’ capabilities – to an extent that they will be like a different army from now on, he said.

We also got 30 T72S tanks, 30 BRDM-2 combat reconnaissance/patrol vehicles and 14.5 mm cannons as a gift, Vucic said.

We enhanced our very good friendly relations and we will make joint three- and five-year cooperation plans, he said.

As regards AA missile systems, we also discussed the BUK M2 and the Tunguska, but for 2018, Vucic said.

Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic told Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu at a meeting Wednesday he hoped the cooperation between the two countries in all areas, including military cooperation, would be strengthened and taken to a “very high level.”

At the same time, Vucic noted Serbia’s position as a neutral country would not change.

I hope we can enhance our political, economic and military cooperation, and take it to a very high level, Vucic said at the meeting, the RIA Novosti agency reported.

I hope you will be our guest in Belgrade, and we will be good hosts, Vucic said.

I would like to confirm once again that we remain a neutral country, as I have already said in Brussels and Washington – that is our position and nothing has changed in that regard, Vucic noted.

The flight and tactical drills Bars (Brotherhood of Aviators of Russia and Serbia) held in the Balkan country in October need to be held annually, Russian Defense Minister Army General Sergey Shoigu said at an informal meeting with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic on Wednesday.

“In October, the joint flight and tactical exercises Bars-2016 were held successfully in Serbia and it is pleasing that the word Bars is deciphered as the Brotherhood of Aviators of Russia and Serbia. This is a good name and it should stay and we must make these exercises an annual event,” the Russian defense minister said.

According to the minister, the joint trilateral tactical drills Slavic Brotherhood-2016 with the participation of Belarus were also useful.

“We have organized good work for holding joint drills and we intend to develop this practice. We’ll shortly exchange approved plans for 2017 and, of course, we can’t but recall the participation of the Serbian team at the 2016 International Army Games where you have shown fairly good results,” Shoigu said.

The Russian defense minister invited Serbian representatives to take part in the Army 2017 international military and technical forum and the 2017 International Army Games and also handed over an invitation to Serbian Defense Minister Zoran Djordjevic to take part in the work of the 6th Moscow conference on international security in April 2017.