Moscow’s confirmation that it was considering delivering S-300 missile systems to Serbia – only 48 hours after Aleksandar Vucic left the US – is no coincidence.
The Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti writes this on Friday, noting that the S-300 acquisition has been discussed with the Russians in the past, and was “nothing new.”
However, continued the newspaper, this became topical once again “the moment the news – admittedly, unconfirmed – arrived from the US that America was ready to deliver F-16 (jets) to Serbia.”
It was none other than the director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, Dmitry Shugaev, who provided the information about the possible S-300 delivery, the article continued – and he did this “less than 48 hours after the Serbian president finished his first official visit to the US.”
All this indicates that Russia and America are fighting for supremacy, via Serbia, diplomats are quoted as telling Vecernje Novosti.
“These days, one cannot believe in such coincidences – because the distribution of power in the world is such that great powers are, more than ever before, vying for influence over every inch of the planet, including the Balkans,” said former Serbian Ambassador to Austria Milovan Bozinovic.
“There are no passing comments – instead, they are all well measured. The Balkans is very important to Russia,” said Bozinovic, asserting that “the whole region” had joined NATO except Serbia – and describing the US as “not an unbiased and simple partner.”
Former Yugoslav Foreign Minister Vladislav Jovanovic thinks that the S-300 statement likely came because Moscow assessed that the pressure on Serbia coming from the West had increased – and this was a way to provide Russia’s support to the country.
“In the same way, Washington rushed to invite Vucic to visit as soon as the agreements on the delivery of military equipment were reached with Moscow,” Jovanovic said, and added that there was “no doubt” that Shugaev’s statement was “proof that the Balkans and Serbia are in the midst of a game played to strengthen geopolitical influences” – and one played beside Russia and the US “also by Germany, Turkey, and China.”