Serbia May Renew Air Force With Russian Fighter Jets, Vucic Says
Serbia is considering Russia’s offer to renew its air force with jets made by state-owned United Aircraft Corp. JSC (UNAC), Defense Minister Aleksandar Vucic said.
The offer came in response to Serbia’s request in 2010 and the government is considering it now because “we are interested in increasing our military power,” Vucic told reporters in Belgrade today, after meeting with Russian Deputy Premier Dmitry Rogozin and United Aircraft Chairman Mikhail Pogosyan. He didn’t specify the type or the number of aircraft.
Vucic said the defense industry cooperation may also include production of 57-millimeter and 155-millimeter caliber ammunition, while Russian manufacturers may also provide chassis and other parts for armored vehicles Serbia plans to produce for its own army and for buyers in Bangladesh and Kenya.
“We both have the will and the money to invest in Serbia,” said Rogozin, whose country backs Serbia in not recognizing its breakaway province of Kosovo as an independent state. “We support Serbia not only because we are friends but because we insist on the principle of territorial integrity.”
Prime Minister Ivica Dacic’s Cabinet of Socialists, former nationalists and technocrats, in office since July, has increasingly turned to Russia for economic ties and financial assistance, as the country’s plans to join the European Union depend on improved ties with Kosovo, which unilaterally declared independence in 2008.