Serbia presented the modern Chinese air defense system FK-3 to the public for the first time at Saturday’s military parade near Belgrade, the RTS radio and television station said.
On April 30, 2022, Serbia presented the modern Chinese air defense system FK-3 to the public for the first time at a military parade near Belgrade.
Belgrade has done so at a time when, given the war in Ukraine, it is becoming increasingly difficult for it to maintain a fragile balance in relations between the West and Russia.
Beijing is currently one of Serbia’s main partners for military-neutral Serbia. The Balkan country also aspires to membership of the European Union and at the same time maintains friendly relations with religiously and culturally related Russia.
The Chinese FK-3 system is similar to the Russian S-300 system or the American Patriot system. Serbia bought it in 2019 and took it over earlier this month. It is currently the only European country to operate this missile system, as well as the Chinese CH-92A combat drones.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, alongside army commanders at Batajnica base, inspected the Chinese system and then watched an acrobatic show performed by modernized MiG-29 fighters donated to the Balkan country by Russia.
“I am proud of the Serbian army, I am proud of the great progress,” Vučič was quoted as saying by Reuters. “We are going to significantly strengthen our fighter aircraft (Srbsko) Serbia is a neutral country and must find solutions that will allow it to protect its heavens and its state,” he added.
The delivery of the FK-3 missile system has forced several Western countries, including Germany, to warn Serbia that it, as a candidate country for EU membership, is expected to align its foreign policy with the 27-nation bloc. After the start of the war in Ukraine, the West is pushing for Belgrade to join the anti-Russian sanctions. Vučić has so far refused, although Serbia has voted against Russia three times.
According to the Balkan Insight server, increased orientation towards Beijing may be a way for Belgrade to face this pressure. Analysts rated the transportation of the FK-3 system by six huge Chinese Y-20 transport aircraft to Serbia more than three weeks ago as a demonstration of strength.
Beijing sees Serbia as part of a new Silk Road initiative that aims to create new business opportunities for Chinese companies. China has already invested billions of euros in the Balkans, mostly in the form of loans for the construction of infrastructure or energy projects.
Much of the Serbian army’s technical equipment originates in the former Soviet Union, although the domestic military industry traditionally retains a strong position in it. Russia is also one of its main suppliers. Serbia is also dependent on Russian natural gas and oil supplies.
Vučič also said today that Serbia wants to buy 12 Rafale multi-role fighters from France by the end of the year or early next year. According to Vučič, the purchase of 12 Typhoon fighter aircraft from Britain is also under negotiation.
Source: Pravda – Správy by spravy.pravda.sk.
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