Belarusian-Serbian defence cooperation on the rise
Minsk and Belgrade regard each other as close and promising partners in the military and military-technical cooperation. Belarusian-Serbian defence cooperation has significant prospects due to the special nature of Belarusian-Serbian political relations.
On February 25th, 2019, Belarus shipped four multi-purpose MiG-29 fighters to Serbia as military technical assistance. Serbians will repair aircraft at the Belarusian OJSC “558 Aviation Repair Plant”. Restoring combat potential of the Serbian Air Force is among priorities outlined by Serbian President Alexander Vucic. That said, in 2012, when he assumed the post of the Defense Minister, he faced Serbia not having a single aircraft capable of taking off.
Fighters were shipped within a personal agreement reached previously between Lukashenka and Vucic. When transferring MiG-29s, Serbian Defense Minister Vulin, stated his country's interest in some products of the Belarusian military industry and offered products of the Serbian defence industry.
Earlier, during the monthly briefing at the Belarusian Defense Ministry for foreign military attaches on the occasion of the Belarusian Army Day on February 23rd, the ministry particularly marked military cooperation with only three states: Russia, China and Serbia. Defence cooperation with the latter is considered by the Belarusian military leadership as very promising.
Belarusian-Serbian security cooperation is based on personal good relations between the leaders of the two states, Lukashenka and Vucic. The parties proceed from the fact that in many respects they pursue a similar security policy, to which they refer as independent and neutral (despite Belarus’ participation in the post-Soviet military alliances).
Bilateral military cooperation plan with Serbia for 2019 provides for 39 joint activities in different directions, which is only a few activities less than those envisaged in the Russo-Belarusian military action plan. Overall, Serbia ranks second in the number of bilateral events. Belarusian-Serbian military cooperation is likely to expand to the military-industrial sphere. Moreover, there is a mutual interest in this and some positive experience.