FT: Serbia indirectly exported ammunition 800 million euros to Ukraine and is moving away from Russia

NEWS 23.06.202414:33 0 komentara
INA FASSBENDER / AFP

Financial Times (FT) reported that Serbia indirectly, through other countries, exported ammunition worth 800 million euros to Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

“Serbia has been discreetly stepping up sales of ammunition to the west that ends up bolstering the defence of Ukraine — even though it is one of only two European countries not to join Western sanctions against Russia”, FT reported.

According to estimates published in the Financial Times, Serbian exports of ammunition to Ukraine through third parties amount to about 800 million euros since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 — a sum that President Aleksandar Vucic has said is mostly accurate — since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Vucic presented the situation as a business opportunity, insisting that he would not take one side or the other in the war.

“This is a part of our economic revival and important for us. Yes, we do export our ammunition. We cannot export to Ukraine or to Russia . . . but we have had many contracts with Americans, Spaniards, Czechs, and others. What they do with that in the end is their job”, he said in an interview.

He said it is “not his job” to know where the ammunition ends up but to secure deals that benefit Serbia.

“We have friends in Kyiv and in Moscow. These are our Slav brothers,” he said.

Asked if the €800million figure sounds right, he said not over one year but “maybe in two or three years, something like that”.

FT notes that Serbia is neither a member of NATO nor the EU, but that it does have a sentimental attachment to Russia while “resenting the West after NATO’s bombing campaign on their country in 1999”.

“Belgrade also counts on Moscow to block international recognition of Kosovo, the former Serbian province recognised by most western states, but which is held back from UN membership by Russia and China”, FT reports.

Vucic resisted Western pressure to impose sanctions on Russia and allowed flights to Russia to continue, although he says he is committed to his country becoming a member of the EU. He also tried to balance between the two sides and keep a distance between himself and Russian President Vladimir Putin, FT reports.

“Europe and the US have worked for years to distance Vučić from Putin,” a Western diplomat told FT, adding that a crucial player was US ambassador Christopher Hill, who arrived in Belgrade a month after the full-scale invasion.

He said that “everyone expected Hill to fight with Vucic,” but that his real agenda has been to distance “Belgrade from Moscow”, which he argued was successful.

“Vucic has not met, nor even called Putin for years. And of course, there is the question of weapons shipments that end up in Ukraine”, the diplomat said.

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