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Serbia Seeks More Warplanes Amid Balkan Tensions

BELGRADE, Serbia—Serbia will strengthen its armed forces and is seeking to purchase more warplanes amid simmering tensions in the Balkans, the Serbian president said Sunday.

President Aleksandar Vucic said “certain initiatives” have been made to buy a fleet of fighter-bombers, accusing the U.S. and other Western countries of arming Serbias NATO neighbors and its breakaway former province of Kosovo.

“The Americans, Turks and Germans are taking care of their beloved child,” Vucic said, referring to Kosovo. He said the U.S. has recently delivered a number of armored vehicles to Kosovos security forces.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, left

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, left

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, left, watches exercise at a ceremony marking 72 years since the end of WWII and the defeat of Nazi Germany, at Nikinci training ground, 60 kilometers west of Belgrade, Serbia, on May 9, 2017. (Darko Vojinovic/AP Photo)During a tour of a Serbian army tank brigade, Vucic said his country cannot compete with “NATO donations” to its neighbors when it comes to weapons, “therefore we must do it alone.”

Vucic did not specify what type of warplanes Serbia plans to buy, but the pro-government media said his government has officially asked the U.S. for the delivery of 20 fighter-bombers. The reports said Washington has not yet responded to Belgrades request and that in case of a refusal, it is likely to purchase Russian-made Sukhoi-25 attack aircraft.

Serbia, which claims military neutrality, has recently received a sophisticated anti-aircraft system from Russia, which has also provided fighter jets, attack helicopters and armored vehicles. Another Serbian ally, China, has delivered military drones.

A Serbian army tank performs -1
A Serbian army tank performs -1
A Serbian army tank performs during exercise at a ceremony marking 72 years since the end of WWII and the defeat of Nazi Germany, at Nikinci training ground, 60 kilometers west of Belgrade, Serbia, on May 9, 2017. (Darko Vojinovic/AP Photo)

U.S. officials have in the past spoken openly about introducing sanctions against Serbia if Moscow sends more arms to the country, especially those that could jeopardize the security of neighboring NATO-member states.

The Russian and Chinese arming of Serbia is being watched with unease in the West andRead More – Source

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