Serbia's Arms Export Business Sees €800 Million in Ammunition Reach Ukraine

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jun.22 - 2024 9:35 PM CET

Photo: Wiki Commons
Photo: Wiki Commons
Serbian ammunition worth €800 million reaches Ukraine through third-party re-exports.

Trending Now

Serbia has exported ammunition worth €800 million to Western countries, some of which has been re-exported to Ukraine, reports the Financial Times.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić confirmed the accuracy of the figure, explaining that this total spans the last two to three years.

He emphasized that these transactions are a crucial part of Serbia's economic revival and do not imply taking sides in the ongoing conflict.

Business as Usual

“Yes, we export our ammunition,” Vučić said.

“We cannot supply it directly to Ukraine or Russia, but we have had numerous contracts with Americans, Spaniards, Czechs, and others. What they do with it afterward is their business.”

Vučić highlighted that even if he is aware of the final destination of the ammunition, his primary responsibility is ensuring legal compliance and supporting the Serbian economy.

Vučić also pointed out the economic advantages, stating,

“We have a great business opportunity exporting ammunition because our products are cheaper than Western ones. This trend will continue to grow.”

Expanding Defense Industry

Serbian Finance Minister Siniša Mali echoed Vučić's sentiments, noting that the country's defense industry, which employs 20,000 people, is rapidly expanding.

Mali described the industry as a "business cluster" and expressed optimism about catching up with more developed nations in arms production. “Now is the time,” Mali added.

Diplomats and analysts interviewed by the Financial Times suggest that Serbia's involvement in supplying ammunition to Ukraine is so discreet that official data do not reflect it.

The Kiel Institute for the World Economy, which monitors aid to Kyiv, stated that they have not tracked Serbia's activities directly and lack evidence of Serbia’s systematic contribution to Ukraine’s defense.

Leaked Documents and Official Denials

In April 2023, leaked Pentagon documents revealed Serbia’s consent to transfer its weapons to the Ukrainian Armed Forces (VSU). Earlier, documents surfaced online indicating that Serbian company Krusik supplied Kyiv with 3,500 units of 122mm rockets for BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launchers via Istanbul and Bratislava. However, Serbian Defense Minister Miloš Vučević denied these claims, stressing that Serbia only sells arms to "legitimate end users," excluding Russia and Ukraine.

Despite these denials, Vučić acknowledged last summer that Serbian ammunition and weapons reach Ukraine through intermediaries, a process he cannot prevent. In February, the Z-channel "Military Informer" reported that Ukrainian forces used Serbian ER Grad 2000 rockets with a range of 40 km to shell Belgorod. The rockets were reportedly launched from Czech RM-70 Vampire multiple rocket launchers, identified by the distinct color of their bodies and stabilizers.