BELGRADE, October 8. / TASS /. The European Union condemned Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic for strengthening relations with Russia and China. This was announced on Thursday by the Serbian leader during a joint press conference with European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Oliver Vargeya in Belgrade.
"There is criticism on my account <...> Due to the fact that we have close relations with Russia and China, for buying "Pantsir". I accept all the accusations, I insisted on buying the Pantsir, I insisted on developing relations with Russia and China, and now I will try to buy drones from another problem country. And let them not waste time on accusations, I accept all of them in advance, "said Vucic.
As Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin said in an interview with TASS earlier, the combat readiness of the Serbian army has significantly improved thanks to the military-technical cooperation between Belgrade and Moscow. According to him, in 2019, Russia and Serbia held 96 joint exercises. Fighter aircraft are again able to defend the Serbian skies, and modern air defense systems – Pantsir-C1 complexes – have strengthened the country's air defense. Serbia has purchased the most modern Mi-35 combat helicopters and Mi-17 transport helicopters, the delivery of the BRDM-2 has strengthened its ground forces, the minister said.
From 2018 to February 2020, Russia donated four Mi-35M helicopters, six MiG-29 fighters, 10 BRDM-2 helicopters, three Mi-17V-5 transport helicopters, as well as anti-aircraft missile and cannon systems to Serbia as military-technical assistance. " Shell-C1 ". It is planned to supply 30 T-72 tanks and 20 BRDM-2 combat vehicles to Serbia.
The Serbian leader, at a meeting with the European Commissioner, also noted that he was reproached in Brussels for "using the presidency to attract votes in elections", and also imposed strict measures and curfews, measures that caused protests of citizens and clashes between protesters. by the police.
"Serbia's European path does not mean the abolition of our rights while I am president," said Vuccic. "I was criticized for thinking that I have the right to say what I think. Now I see that this is undesirable, everything I said is true, and everyone in this hall knows it," the Serbian leader concluded emotionally.
The Serbian President also said that the EU is allocating € 8 billion to the Western Balkans through a grant and about 20 billion in other ways. In turn, Wargei announced a new EU strategy towards the Balkans, which is expressed, among other things, in economic support. The European Commissioner also said that he discussed with Vucic the report of the European Commission on Serbia's progress towards the EU, pointing out the need to strengthen work in the field of human rights.