Ante Kotromanović.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Mladen VOLARIĆ/ ua

Croatia's Defence Minister Ante Kotromanovic said in Split on Friday that it would be "a mission impossible" for the time being for Serbia to purchase arms from Russia due to scarce means.

"We know that they (Serbia) spend 94% on operational expenses, salaries and logistics. They have no means for equipment and modernisation. I visited Belgrade two years ago and I saw that," the Croatian minister told reporters after his talks in Split with Vice Admiral James Foggo, who is the Commander of the US Navy's 6th Fleet.

Kotromanovic said that he was satisfied with the fact that Serbian Prime Minister Alekandar Vucic had recently expressed concern over the strength of the Croatian armed forces. The Serbian premier recently said that his country planned to buy weaponry from Russia due to the Croatian Army's high level of equipment as evidenced by a military parade in (Zagreb in August), Kotromanovic said.

Asked by reporters about Serbia's plans to purchase weaponry from Russia, Kotromanovic said that this was "a mission impossible" for the time being as Serbia had no money and also being an EU aspirant, Serbia had to harmonise its European and security policy with the European Union.

They must clearly decide whether they will be a part of the West or keep pursuing this policy and de facto be a part of the Russian Federation, the Croatian minister said accusing Serbia of "sitting between two stools".

Asked whether he and Vice Admiral Foggo had discussed tensions in Montenegro, Kotromanovic said that Croatia in principle supported Montenegro's NATO membership bid.

"We talked about joint activities in the Adriatic from Slovenia to Greece and Albania. I expect that Montenegro will be given an invitation to join NATO," Kotramanovic said.

He said that recent protests in Montenegro, staged by the pro-Serb Opposition were "winds coming from the East", and that a majority of Montenegrins were in favour of joining the Alliance.

Montenegro's membership to NATO will make that county more stable and safer, he added.

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