Serbia to Take Part in NATO Drills With Russian Weapons
As Serbia has signed an agreement with Moscow to buy Russian weapons, Serbian soldiers are preparing to participate in US-led NATO drills. Serbia's policy of balancing between Russia and the West is due the country's doctrine of military neutrality adopted in 2007. However, experts say that sooner or later Belgrade will have to choose a side.
During his visit to Moscow, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic reached an agreement with Moscow on the purchase of Russian weapons. At the same time, Serbian troops are getting ready to participate in a NATO military exercise in Germany.
Experts say military ties with Russia will not endanger Serbia's European perspective, but warn that balancing between Moscow and the West cannot be a long-term policy.
Serbia's decision to buy Russian arms will not be a great concern for the EU as Serbian officials have repeatedly said that EU membership remains the strategic goal, Zoran Dragisic, a security studies professor in Belgrade, told Balkan Insight.
"Serbian officials have told the same thing to their Russian partners. However, Serbia is not a member of the EU at the moment and is trying to sit in two chairs. I do not think it is possible in the long run," he said.
Military analyst Aleksandar Radic also said that the purchase of Russian weapons by Serbia is unlikely to worsen relations with the West.