Serbia set to buy sophisticated Russian missiles

epa05948070 A Russian Pantsir missile and artillery weapon system participates in the rehearsal for a military parade in Moscow, Russia, 07 May 2017. The Victory Day parade on 09 May 2017 marks the 72nd anniversary since the capitulation of Nazi Germany. EPA/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

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Russia will deliver a sophisticated anti-aircraft missile system to Serbia even though the U.S. has warned of possible sanctions against the Balkan country in the event of such purchases.

Russia’s state TASS news agency said Wednesday that the Pantsir-S system will be delivered to Serbia “in the next few months in accordance with the signed contract.”

The U.S.’s special envoy for the Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer, warned Serbia last week that the purchase of Russian weapons “poses a risk” of U.S. sanctions.

Serbia remains a key ally of Russia even though it wants to join the European Union. Belgrade has pledged to stay out of NATO and refused to join Western sanctions against Russia over the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Russia has been helping Serbia beef up its military with fighter jets, attack helicopters and battle tanks, raising concerns in the war-scarred Balkan region. During the bloody breakup of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Serbia was at war with neighbors Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo.

Via AP

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