Serbia set to buy Russian attack helicopters

Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin, who is in Moscow, announced on Tuesday that his country would buy helicopters from Russia.

Source: Tanjug
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(screen capture, YouTube)
(screen capture, YouTube)

Speaking after his meeting with Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu, Vulin said that negotiations had started to acquire new armaments from the Russian Federation: four Mi-17 transport helicopters, and four Mi-35 attack helicopters.

Vulin is on an official visit to Russia, during which he will participate in the Moscow Conference on International Security.

"Also, we continue our military-technical cooperation by further equipping and modernizing MiG-29s, T-92 tanks, infantry combat vehicles, and certain types of air defense weapons. An armed Serbia is a peaceful Serbia, and it guarantees peace in the Balkans," the minister said.

He also conveyed to his hosts Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic's message that, "as long as he is the head of state," Serbia will never participate in sanctions and anti-Russia hysteria.

"Nobody knows it like Serbia how painful manufactured lies can be, when politicians pass judgment without a single shred of evidence. Our response is that we will not participate in that. Everything in the world can change, except our brotherly and friendly relations," Vulin said.

He stressed once again that Serbia is grateful for Russia's stance toward Kosovo and Metohija and the preservation of Serbia's territorial integrity and sovereignty, and for Moscow's support given to Belgrade on all important foreign policy issues, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

"Russia always stands with us, understands and respects our interests, and fully understands and supports our policy of military neutrality. The messages of Minister Shoigu are identical to those President Putin made during his recent conversation with President Vucic - The Russian Federation seeks peace and agreement, thinks that Serbia is behaving responsibly, and that violence in Kosovo and Metohija is absolutely unacceptable," Vulin stressed.

Sergei Shoigu said that his meetings with the Serbian defense minister had become "traditional" and that the talks on Tuesday represented "another step toward further cooperation."

Shoigu also recalled his last visit to Serbia, in October 2017.

"I have warm memories of the celebrations dedicated to the 73rd anniversary of Belgrade’s liberation from Nazi occupation, held last year - it was an important event for Russian-Serbian relations and for me personally. It once again proved good and I would say brotherly relations between our people. I hope they will remain like that," the Russian defense minister said, according to TASS.

"I expect that tomorrow we will have a chance to discuss the most pressing global security issues," Shoigu noted.

Vucic's adviser Dragutin Matanovic presented Shoigu with a gift on behalf of the president - an 18th century icon from the Solovetsky monastery, while Vucic gave him a replica of the banner of Karadjordje, the founder of the Serbian Karadjordjevic dynasty, that had the words "Russia is the protector of Orthodox (Christian) Serbs" embroidered on it.

Vulin on Tuesday also met with Yuri Khatchaturov, secretary general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), with whom he "exchanged opinions and stances on current political events, realization of activities so far, and modalities of improving cooperation."

They agreed that cooperation was mutually beneficial and directed toward the interests of both sides, while Khatchaturov stressed that the CSTO supports Serbia's military neutrality.

Vulin will on Wednesday address the 3rd Plenary Session of the first day of the Moscow Conference on International Security.

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