The United States warns Serbia not to buy Russian missile systems

(REPUBLIC OF NORTH MACEDONIA): A US envoy. UU. He has expressed concern about Serbian interest in Russian air defense systems, warning Belgrade Be careful and cautious when buying them, in comments to television in northern Macedonia.

Of course, we are concerned not only with the deployment of Russian military equipment in the territory of Serbia, but with the possibility of Serbia acquiring important Russian military systems, United States Special Envoy Matthew Palmer told Elsat television in an interview that It aired late Friday.

Palmer was referring to the deployment last week of a Russian S-400 missile system and an anti-aircraft system of Pantsir weapons and missiles to Serbia for the defense exercises of the Slavic-2019 Shield.

It was the first time that the two weapons systems had participated in military exercises abroad. Russia , according to the Russia n defence ministry.

They have been used in Syria and Turkey has bought the S-400 system despite strong opposition from NATO partners

The two weapons provide a multi-layered air defense network considered by many to be one of the best in the world.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said his country would like to acquire the weapons, but that "the only way would be if Russia left them with us. Otherwise we do not have the means to procure them."

Palmer, the United States special representative for the Western Balkans, told Elsat: We expect our Serbian partners to be careful and cautious about such transactions.

US military ties with Serbia were more significant than Russia -Serbian relations, he argued.

We have a strong military association with Serbia, I think, in fact, it could be said that Serbia's best military partner is the United States.

"We think it is more significant than anything the Russia ns do with Belgrade ," the US envoy added.

Serbia nonetheless has historically close ties with Russia , which has provided backing over the delicate question of Kosovo, a former Serb province, and which shares a common Orthodox Christian faith.

Moscow was not pleased when Montenegro, which like Serbia is a former Yugoslav republic, joined NATO in 2017, and is keen to maintain influence in the region.

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