Ex-German chancellor defends Serbia's decision to buy MiGs
Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder says he does not understand the criticism of Serbia over the acquisition of Russian MiG-29s.Source: Tanjug
He said he is convinced this is "no reason for anyone's fears, because these aircraft have been acquired to defend the country, rather than for aggressive purposes."
"Russia is a friendly country to Serbia and if the prime minister says he would arm the military for self-defense, nobody in the region should have to fear that Serbia has aggressive goals, I know him well enough to know he would never do that," Schroeder said during a joint interview with PM Aleksandar Vucic given in Belrade to the Prva TV broadcaster.
If you do not have your own industry, then you need to buy planes, noted the former head of the German government.
When the interviewer said there were "opinions that the acquisition of Russian weapons could jeopardize Serbia's European path," Schroeder said that this may be a problem, because there is "too much ideology, which unduly interferes."
"If this was about American or French weapons, they would say it was good that it was done. And why is it any different when it comes to Russia - weapons are weapons," said Schroeder.
He stressed that he did not understand such criticism, because Europe cannot have peace without a rational policy and relations with Russia.
Asked if he was alone in Germany in his attitude toward Russia, Schroeder replied that his opinion might not be the mainstream in the German media, but that this "does not bother him."
"Whenever Western Europe has a good relationship with Russia, there's peace on the continent, and when we have a bad relationship, from that comes war, mostly started by my people, the Germans," said Schroeder.
He also said that for the United States, the stance toward Russia is a global problem, because they want a weak Russia - but Europe and Germany, and also for Serbia, Russia is "the largest neighbor, there is a need for resources, oil and gas..."
Speaking about the acquisition of warplanes from Russia, Aleksandar Vucic said that they will serve to protect our "ground and sky" while any other interpretation is "absolutely unacceptable."
He also said that the move was not a reaction to the arming of Croatia, and stressed that Serbia will work on developing its defense industry, "which is an important part of economic progress."