The US administration has expressed concern about Serbia's interest in strengthening its arsenal through the acquisition of advanced Russian air defense systems.
"Of course, we are concerned not only about the deployment of Russian military equipment in the territory of Serbia, but the possibility that Serbia will acquire sophisticated Russian military systems," said Matthew Palmer, the US State Department's special envoy to the Western Balkans, in an interview with Elsat TV in Northern Macedonia. This is in reference to the exercises of the "Slavic Shield" last week in Serbia, with the participation of "S-400" and "Panzer S" Russian air defense, for the first time.
The US diplomat expressed Washington's hope that the Belgrade government would be "cautious" about such possible deals with Moscow, claiming that the United States is a military partner more important than Russia for Serbia.
However, Agence France-Presse noted close historical ties between Moscow and Belgrade, especially in light of Russia's consistent position on the Kosovo issue and its standing over the years alongside the interests of Christians in the Balkans.
Last week, Serbian President Alexander Vucic confirmed that Belgrade had signed a deal with Russia to buy one battery from Panzer S and expects to deliver it as soon as possible.
This came after the US administration failed to dissuade Turkey from its plans to acquire Russian S-400 air defense systems.