Milanović Talks Serbia’s Armament, French Presidential Election

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Image: Zoran Milanović/Facebook screenshot
Image: Zoran Milanović/Facebook screenshot

“I don’t know who will attack them,” he told the press in Rijeka. “They are not a NATO member, they don’t want that. They have lost a patron overnight. It’s a very traumatic awakening… and now they are buying some Chinese systems which are probably copies of Russian systems, probably a class weaker… That’s incomprehensible.”

Serbia recently received a Chinese anti-missile system and the West fears that the amassing of weapons in the Western Balkans at the height of the war in Ukraine could threaten peace and stability in the region.

“Croatia won’t attack them, America won’t attack them. If it attacks them, that (anti-missile system) is of no use at all,” said Milanović.

Such weapons “cost but don’t make a difference,” he said, adding that he does not understand such a policy. “I’m not condemning them. I’m looking in surprise.”

“Will Russia attack them? No. America? That’s of no use. Croatia? It won’t,” Milanović said, calling on Serbia to choose sides.

In 2020, U.S. officials warned Belgrade against purchasing HQ-22 anti-aircraft systems, saying that if Serbia really wants to join the European Union and other Western alliances, it must align its military equipment with Western standards.

“Serbia must choose, but it’s very clear where it belongs,” Milanović said, recalling that Serbia recently supported ousting Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.

“I’m glad that my neighbour has opened his eyes and if he will finally be a member of the Western community of peoples and states,” he said, but added that he does not “want to spite Russia” by saying so.

Milanović also commented on the French presidential election and supported the re-election of Emmanuel Macron, who is competing against far right leader Marine Le Pen. “The president in France will probably stay the same, I hope, but he won’t get as many votes as he did five years ago.”

“Forty-five percent of the citizens of an old democracy are voting for Le Pen, who is announcing that she will pull France out of NATO if she becomes president,” Milanović said, adding that “everybody does not think the same, everybody does not have the same values, the same view of the world and the relations between states.”

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.


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