Defense Minister Zoran Djordjevic says that taking care of the security of citizens through strengthening the Army is “aligned with the growth of the economy.”

“Our interest is that the army is as modern and as well equipped as possible, to strengthen its operational capabilities, that it can protect its citizens, its territory, its sky, and we develop all our plans in this direction,” Djordjevic told state broadcaster RTS.

The process of modernization of the Serbian Army (VS) is taking place according to short and long-term plans, he explained.

According to the minister, the modernization plans primarily involve “equipping the VS with air defense.”

Djordjevic said that Russians are interested in “coming to our country, in order to open a new center for modernization and overhaul of Mil helicopters,” and stressed that “Serbia, too, is interested in that.”

“Everything is going in the direction of this quickly taking root. At first it would be a small regional center, which should grow later into a large modern center for the whole of South East Europe,” said Djordjevic.

He said that the overhaul of the six MiG-29s that Serbia is due to receive from Russia will be implemented in Serbia, stating that in the interest of the country that employees of the Aero-Technical Overhaul Institute Momo Stanojlovic participate in this job.

“We are waiting for the President of Russia (Vladimir) Putin to sign a decree on military-technical aid (to Serbia), and depending on the formulation of this decree – whether it will be assistance or a military-technical agreement, so will the delivery go,” said Djordjevic.

Asked whether Serbia is ready for a large number of migrants, should Turkey allow them to move towards Europe, the minister said that joint VS and MUP (Interior Ministry) forced “will be ready if that happens.”

“So far more than 20,000 illegal entries have been prevented. To us it is primarily important to prevent illegal entries and make a record of the people who want to go through Serbia,” he said.