Russian Deputy PM announces defence support to Serbia

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in Belgrade on Monday that Russia would consider Serbia's request for the delivery of arms and the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system and that it would try to support Serbia.

"We will do everything to ensure support to our ally in the Balkans," Rogozin told a news conference after talks with Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic.

Rogozin said a Russian commission would closely examine Serbia's request for the delivery of efficient inoffensive weapons for the country's defence.

Asked about the S-300 missiles, Vucic said they were "too expensive" for Serbia, but that Russia had shown desire to help through certain arrangements and that "months and years of talks on that" lay ahead.

Vucic said Serbia would not be an easy target for anyone and that this was why it was working on strengthening its defence capabilities and industry. He said Serbia was committed to peace and full stability in the region as well as the best relations with all neighbours.

"Serbia will never attack anyone, but it must be capable of protecting its territory and citizens at all times," he said, adding that Serbia kept quiet "about threats from those who are not giving up from procuring very strong offensive weapons."

"I'm not nervous but worried. The ballistic missiles and launchers which Croatia plans to procure have a range of 300 and 350 kilometres. You can target any place in central Serbia from Zagreb or any other place," Vucic said when asked to comment on Croatian Defence Minister Ante Kotromanovic's statement that Serbia had no reason for concern about Croatia's armament.

Vucic said Serbia was neutral militarily, while several of its neighbours were NATO members, and that he saw no reason for the procurement of offensive weapons.

He and Rogozin also talked about cooperation in tourism and agriculture and the possible import of Fiat 500 L cars, which are made in Kragujevac. Vucic asked Rogozin to intervene with the Kazakh authorities because Kazakhstan is a potential buyer of Serbian auto industry products.

Rogozin said there was room to enhance cooperation in agriculture, construction and religious tourism.

He also met with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic.

Last update: Mon, 11/01/2016 - 19:51

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