Serbia Defense Chief Says Putin Soon to Approve Delivery of Fighter Jets
The Serbian defense chief says he expects Russian President Vladimir Putin to soon approve delivery of six MiG-29 fighter jets to Serbia.
Defense Minister Zoran Djordjevic told the Blic newspaper on March 12 that Putin’s approval for the cost-free delivery of the jets is just a formality.
Officials said refurbishing of the MiGs, which will come out of Russia’s air force reserves, will cost about 185 million euros.
“It’s in our interest that the MiGs arrive as soon as possible so we start their repairs and modernization,” Djordjevic told Blic.
The deal was negotiated last year by Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic during a visit to Russia.
Serbia is being pulled in two directions: It has a stated goal of joining the European Union while many people want to maintain the country’s traditional close ties to Russia.
The populist Vucic has said he wants to accomplish both goals — lead Serbia into the EU but also improve ties with Moscow.
Vucic is running for the presidency, a mainly ceremonial role, in the country’s April 2 election.