The question of the participation of the Serbian army in international exercises was the first to be raised by the envoy of the European Parliament for Serbia, Vladimir Bilchik, immediately after him, Germany spoke about it, while Belgrade was threatened with sanctions and a blockade of rapprochement with the EU.
The Serbian newspaper Vecherne Novosti writes about this. The publication quotes Defense Minister Aleksandr Vulin, who said that "Serbia is under terrible and undeserved pressure from the EU."
"Under the threat of depriving us of our European future and even greater pressure on our policy and on our people in Kosovo and Metohija and in the Republika Srpska (as part of Bosnia and Herzegovina), they demand that we abandon the planned exercises with Belarus," they quote. Evening news "Vulina. At the same time, the head of the Ministry of Defense of Serbia recalled that by decision of the People's Assembly (parliament), the country was declared neutral from a military point of view.
Retired Colonel of the Serbian Counterintelligence Service Luban Karan, in an interview with the publication, expressed the opinion that the suspension of Serbia's participation in the exercises makes sense, although it is a forced measure.
According to him, "Serbia must avoid becoming a bargaining chip in the undercover game of large forces at all costs."
Vecherne Novosti reminds that Serbia is cooperating with NATO in the field of army reform, suppression of corruption in the defense sector, in the field of military education, destruction and processing of obsolete ammunition, as well as in the area of the Science for Peace civil program. The military delegation of Serbia in Brussels is in constant contact with representatives of the alliance, and especially with countries that did not recognize the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo.
During 2019, Serbia conducted 17 military exercises with other countries: 13 with NATO and partners, and only four with Russia. Serbian soldiers participated in the exercises "Slavic Shield", "Brotherhood of Aviators of Russia and Serbia", as well as in the troops of the Western Military District of Russia, the newspaper recalls.
On the eve of the Serbian authorities decided to freeze all plans for joint military exercises with other countries.