"Militarily strong ally will deter potential aggressor"
A militarily strong ally of Serbia will deter any potential aggressor, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin had told Sputnik.Source: Sputnik
The Russian official, who is currently visiting Serbia, pointed that the possible supply of Russian weapons would not be directed against anyone, but would instead have the purpose of providing an ally with a solution to the issue of its security.
Asked how Russia can help Serbia respond to the fact that Croatia decided to buy or obtain from the United States offensive weapons, Rogozin said there were "two aspects in which to answer this question."
"First, we, of course, treat with respect the way Serbia wants to ensure its security. I have to say that the delivery of such systems, like air defenses and missile defenses, is not a threat to any country. We treat Croatia and any other country in the Balkan region and Europe with respect. We have the same attitude towards them. We consider this question on a technical level, we must see what the system that is requested is for, for protection from what threats. It is a question for Belgrade, for Serbia. Our mission is one: to act so our allies, those countries that we respect and with whom we are historically linked, do not feel the problem of their own security," Rogozin said.
He added the kind of "system" that Serbia could receive "depends on our soldiers, Russians and Serbs, who should determine what is appropriate financially, that it is not expensive, that it is suitable efficiency of application-wise, that it localizes some risks."
"It's important what kind of weapons should be defended against. If it is about the weapons appearing in NATO countries around Serbia, it also raises many questions. Because, information that Serbia's neighbors will get strike weapons does not cause optimism. Russia speaks about defensive means, systems, because air-defense cannot be used to attack, but always for protection. It is a tool that is designed to neutralize aggression from the air but not as a means of aggression," Rogozin said, and added:
"On the other hand, missile resources, land missile installations are of course always strike weapons. It is not a shield but a sword, and when our Croatian colleagues are trying to acquire strike weapons, or have someone impose this on them, the question is raised, against whom. Against whom in the region does one acquire a system with an operative range of 270-300 kilometers. And for that reason we understand the risks and the feeling of insecurity that appeared with the Serbian leadership, and treat it with respect. I repeat that Russia is ready to supply all the weapons that are not prohibited for export, but our experts have to determine what is optimal for Serbia and what the Serbs can afford financially."