May 19. 2024. 2:07

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Russia pressures Serbia over alleged arms for Ukraine


Moscow has demanded an official explanation from Belgrade about reports that Serbia, one of Russia’s traditional allies, had delivered a batch of rockets to Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday Moscow was “deeply concerned” about the reports, carried by media in Russia and Serbia.

“We are following this story. The incoming information has caused our deepest concern. This is too serious a question, including from the point of view of Russian-Serbian relations, to react on the merits right now, it is necessary to rely on facts,” she said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website.

“We have asked Belgrade for an explanation.”

Media reported that Serbia had secretly delivered 3,500 Grad G-2000 rockets, manufactured by Krušik, an arms producer from the Serbian town of Valjevo.

Krušik denied any involvement.

Serbian Defence Minister Miloš Vučević also denied during a parliamentary debate that Serbia was exporting arms to Ukraine but added: “If private companies buy arms in third countries’ markets, and then sell them to other companies in other countries, that is not a question for Serbia. That is international trade.”

Serbia is one of the few European countries that has not joined in imposing international sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, although Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić hinted for the first time in January that Belgrade might change course if it was deemed necessary.

(Zoran Radosavljević | EURACTIV.com)