Serbian Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin confirmed that the first two of a total of six Russian anti-aircraft defence systems Pantsir-S1 Serbia ordered from Moscow arrived on Saturday (22 February) at the military Airport near Belgrade.
On its way from Moscow, the plane that carried the equipment avoided the Ukrainian airspace and flew over the Black Sea and Bulgaria to Serbia. Pantsir is a rapid-fire missile system with a range of about 20 kilometres.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Sunday (23 February) that Serbia’s decision to buy the Pantsir missile system from Russia was no secret, and that it would be meaningless if Serbia had been sanctioned for that.
However, it’s possible that warnings from the West had been made to prevent further purchases of large-scale weapons. Vucic told the Prva TV that even if sanctions had been introduced, “they would affect people, not the country,” adding that he didn’t expect it to happen.
In a comment on a question by Gen. Frederick Ben Hodges, a former commanding general of the US Army Europe, who wanted to know “against whom Serbia has been arming itself,” Vucic said that Hodges was not Serbia’s enemy.