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Serbian President denies plans to produce weapons with Russia

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BEGRADE – Serbia has no plans to manufacture weapons or missiles in conjunction with Russia, President Aleksandar Vucic told reporters.

Shortly before, the Serbian leader examined at the Batajnici military airport outside Belgrade four Mi-35 helicopters, three Mi-17 helicopters and seven recently purchased Airbus H-145s from the aircraft manufacturer.

“I can’t confirm it because there is a lot of manipulate with different kinds of information and I can’t act so irresponsibly,” the president said, commenting on media reports that Russia and Serbia will in future produce missiles, armored vehicles, ammunition and Heavy military trucks together.

Vucic emphasized that Russia offered his country a considerable discount on “more than 10 million” military equipment purchases and expressed its gratitude to Moscow.

Serbia is the largest importer of Russian military weapons and equipment in Europe. Previously, the Republic bought seven Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters from Russia and also received six MiG-29 fighters and ten armored vehicles as a gift.

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Last October, Vucic assured that his country would also like to purchase the S-400 air defense systems, but for now it cannot buy them for economic reasons.

In October, former Serbian Chief of Staff Gen. Ljubisa Divokic says the presence of S-400 systems in his country for joint military exercises is a sign of confidence. Following the exercises, Serbia confirmed the purchase of Pantsir-S mobile anti-aircraft artillery systems.

Former Serbian chief of staff Gen. Ljubisa Dikovic said in an interview in October that he believed Russia only brought its S-400 systems to Serbia because it trusted the Slavic country and considered it a reliable partner.

“The presence of these systems on our territory is a sign of unprecedented trust and friendship. It is very important for Serbia and our security system,” said the general.

A division of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft systems and a battery of Pantsir-S mobile anti-aircraft artillery systems participated in the second phase of the joint Slavyasnsky Schit 2019 (Slavic Shield) military exercises. The exercises focused on air defense training.

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