Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has said that he does not mind his country selling ammunition to intermediaries who send it to Ukraine, a sign that Russia's loyal Balkan ally is turning westward.
Vucic said this in an interview with the Financial Times.
Aleksandar Vucic has traditionally supported Moscow and refused to join Western sanctions against Russia after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. However, the Serbian president changed his position, saying that he was aware of the US government's reports that Serbian ammunition was being smuggled into Ukraine through intermediaries and that he did not intend to prevent it.
"Is it possible that this is happening? I have no doubt that this can happen. What is the alternative for us? Not to produce them? Not to sell them?" Vucic said.
According to three Western diplomats in the region, the channel through which Serbian ammunition is delivered to the Ukrainian front has been a crucial factor in the marked change, as the US, NATO, and the EU have supported Serbia during the recent tensions in Kosovo.
Asked whether this was a deliberate move to gain approval from Western capitals, Vucic argues that Belgrade was trying to act "neutrally."
"But I am not a fool. I realize that some of the weapons could end up in Ukraine," he said.
Vucic acknowledged that he was walking a fine line between Moscow and Western powers, but said he would not help the Russian military effort. "We have joined all UN resolutions," he said, referring to UN statements condemning Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
"We join the ban on re-exporting, for example, dual-use technologies in drones. . . We will not be a hub for re-exporting anything to Russia," the Serbian president emphasized.
He added that the days when he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin every three months are over, noting that he has not had contact with the Kremlin for a year, except for receiving visitors from Moscow. "This has never happened before," he said.
Author - Olena Madiak, 07/06/2023