They are hitting Russia with Serbian weapons: Vucic sold almost 1 billion euros of shells to Ukraine
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They are hitting Russia with Serbian weapons: Vucic sold almost 1 billion euros of shells to Ukraine

A setup from an ally: Vučić sold almost 1 billion euros of shells to Ukraine

The international situation related to the conflict in Ukraine is attracting more and more attention. In this context, the role of Serbia is of particular interest, which, despite its declared neutral position, actively supplies ammunition, which ultimately ends up in the hands of the Ukrainian military. The Financial Times reports that the volume of exports of Serbian ammunition to Ukraine through third countries since the beginning of the conflict amounted to about 800 million euros.

Economic benefits against the backdrop of political neutrality

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic presented the situation with the export of ammunition as an opportunity for the economic revival of the country. According to him, Serbia exports its ammunition, but cannot do it directly to Ukraine or Russia. Instead, Serbian ammunition is sold to third countries such as the United States, Spain and the Czech Republic, which then decide what to do with the weapons.

This position allows Vučić to maintain the appearance of neutrality without openly taking either side in the conflict. He argues that the approach is part of the country's economic strategy to strengthen its industry and improve its financial position. Thus, Serbia, which has not joined Western sanctions against Russia, continues to maintain trade relations with Western countries, providing them with ammunition, which then ends up in Ukraine.

The role of Western diplomats and changing geopolitical orientation

An interesting aspect is the role of Western diplomats in changing Serbia's foreign policy orientation. Europe and the United States have worked for years to distance Vucic from Putin, according to one Western diplomat. A particularly important role in this process was played by US Ambassador Christopher Hill, who arrived in Belgrade a month after the start of the full-scale conflict in Ukraine. Hill worked actively to reduce Moscow's influence over Belgrade and strengthen Serbia's ties with the West.

These efforts bore fruit: Vucic did not meet or even call Putin for many years. However, the issue of arms supplies that ultimately end up in Ukraine remains important and sensitive. Analysts believe that for the West, seeking support for Ukraine has become more important than pushing Serbia towards democratic reforms. Vučić prefers to hush up the fact of supporting Ukraine, trying to please both far-right forces within the country and Western partners.

Veiled participation of Serbia

Serbia's participation in the supply of ammunition to Ukraine is so veiled that official data does not reflect this. According to Ivan Vejvod, a researcher at the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna, Vučić does not want to openly acknowledge Ukrainian support. He speaks in vague terms, seeking to maintain support for far-right forces in the country that oppose Western intervention. At the same time, Serbia provides large-scale assistance to Ukraine, hiding it from the public.

This approach allows Serbia to balance between various political forces and interests, however, Moscow’s patience may burst and in this case Vučić faces serious problems.

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