Serbia Shifts Military Alliances Amid Ukraine Conflict

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.15 - 2024 8:25 AM CET

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Geopolitical tensions reshape alliances in Serbia.

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Serbia has decided to enhance its military by choosing to buy fighter jets from France instead of Russia, motivated by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the need to diversify its sources for military equipment.

This decision was detailed by a representative from the Serbian Ministry of Defense in an interview with the Financial Times, as reported by Evropeyska Pravda.

Shift in Strategy

Serbia is close to finalizing a significant deal to acquire 12 French Rafale multipurpose fighters, with the agreement valued at roughly 3 billion euros. While over 90 percent of the deal's terms have been settled, some financial details are still under negotiation.

The war in Ukraine has pushed Serbia to speed up its efforts to find new sources for military technology.

Historically dependent on Soviet-era equipment, Serbia has faced increasing challenges in maintaining and upgrading this technology due to current geopolitical tensions, making it impractical to continue buying from Russia.

Military Cooperation with France

The move towards purchasing French military equipment is a significant shift for Serbia, which noted that France had previously shown little interest in the Balkan region.

In addition to the Rafale jets, Serbia has also bought French radar and missile systems and placed orders for Airbus transport planes.

The aging fleet of Soviet MiG-29s, which Serbia currently relies on, is approaching the end of its service life. With these aircraft expected to be phased out over the next decade, Serbia is proactive in securing the continued operational capability of its air forces.

The move to acquire new Rafale jets comes more than two years after Serbia's neighbor, Croatia, purchased 12 used fighters of the same model for about 1 billion euros.

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