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And Beijing sends planes and missiles to Serbia. Now the pro-Russian Vucic worries Brussels

China has confirmed the dispatch of its sophisticated HQ-22 SAM (surface-to-air missile) air defense systems to Serbia, according to international media anticipations that emerged over the weekend, as part of bilateral “cooperation projects” which “have nothing to do with the current situation” in Ukraine. This was stated by the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry Zhao Lijian, assuring that the fleet of six used Y-20s “delivered regular military supplies” and adding, during the daily briefing, that “the annual China-Serbia cooperation projects are not addressed to third parties “.

The People’s Liberation Army “recently made the previously scheduled delivery.” The six transport Y-20s, which fly over the airspace of two NATO countries (Turkey and Bulgaria), landed on Saturday at the Nikola Tesla civil airport in Belgrade to deliver missiles ordered by Serbia, which has very close ties with Russia. in 2019, the purchase of which had been discouraged by the US in 2020, warning that entry into the EU or other Western alliances would involve the use of defensive systems with more uniform and Western standards. The missiles made in China, supplied in the midst of the instability of the Balkans, are mostly compared to the American Patriots or the Russian S-300s, although they have a lower range: 170 km for an altitude of 27 km. Serbia is the first European country to acquire such Chinese weapons. The government of President Aleksandar Vucic, just reconfirmed for a new mandate, has voted in favor of UN resolutions condemning the Russian aggression against Ukraine, but has decided not to support international sanctions against Moscow.

The “two-faced” Serbia of Aleksandar Vucic, a great friend and admirer of Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Viktor Orban, is increasingly an anomaly in Europe, and at the same time a source of concern for the EU, with which Belgrade has been involved for years in accession negotiation, an objective defined as one of the priorities of its foreign policy. But the arrival of Chinese missiles, in an operation defined as “secret” by the media and in a region traversed by chronic tension and instability such as the Balkans, cannot fail to arouse attention and concern at the same time in Western chancelleries. Although on the way to integration into the European Union, Serbia, Moscow’s main ally in the area, is the only European country to obtain a massive supply of armaments from Russia and China, with the two giants interested in increasing their investments in economy of Serbia and other countries of the region. As part of the Silk Road project and its plans to penetrate the economic fabric of Europe, Xi Jinping’s China is making strong investments in Serbia, especially in the industrial, mining and metallurgical sectors, and in infrastructure, in particular in the project of a fast railway line between Belgrade and Budapest.

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