Serbian DefMin denies involvement in weapons flight

NEWS 20.07.2022 15:55
Tanjug / AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos

The Serbian Defense Ministry denied any involvement in organizing the flight carrying weapons which crashed in Greece over the weekend but confirmed that the shipment of munitions was owned by the Valir company.

“The organization of the flight, which had taken off from Nis, and was due to make “technical stops” in Amman, Riyadh, Ahmedabad before reaching its final destination in Dhaka, and the choice of the airline were not within the competence of the Republic of Serbia. We also underline that Serbia is not responsible for issuing permits to fly over foreign territories, because it is a sovereign decision of each country, to which the carrier applies for an overflight permit in such cases. In this case, our country fully complied with international law and fulfilled all international obligations, and we are providing support to the Greek authorities in conducting a detailed investigation,” the statement said.

The statement was issued “regarding the manipulation and untruths that are still being spread with regard to the plane crash in Greece”. “Serbia did not use this plane to transport weapons to Ukraine,” it said.

“We underline that the plane that crashed in Greece had been transporting the products manufactured by our industry to a validated end user – the Ministry of Defence of Bangladesh,” the ministry statement said.

“The owner of the shipment, containing about 11.5 tonnes of instructional mines and illuminating mortar shells, was the Serbian private company Valir, and the plane which was transporting the shipment was owned by a Ukrainian private airline,” it added.

Allegations appeared over the past few days that the weapons being transported by the plane that crashed in Greece were owned by arms dealer Slobodan Tesic who is under US Treasury Department sanctions. There has also been speculation about why the deal was not made by the state-owned Jugoimport-SDPR.