Croatia, Serbia Show Teeth in Mini Arms Race

Tensions have started to flare in the Balkans as NATO and EU member Croatia and Russian ally Serbia have come into a mini arms race. The United States donated two Black Hawk military helicopters to Croatia as the latest move. The U.S. Embassy in Zagreb said the helicopters will help Croatia’s defensive capabilities in support of NATO.

Last month, Croatia made an agreement with the U.S. to buy 89 Bradley fighting vehicles, and plans to form an infantry brigade as a member of NATO. Croatia also agreed to purchase 12 Rafale fighter jets from France last year.

On the other hand, Serbia has been improving its military capabilities with Russian and Chinese aircraft, drones and anti-aircraft systems. Russia has delivered 30 battle tanks and 30 armored personnel carriers to Serbia in recent months.

Serbia has also recently purchased Russian Pantsir air defense systems in addition to attack and transport helicopters, as well as  Chinese drones.

Serbia, while seeking a full EU membership, has been unwilling to align its foreign policy with that of the 27 member bloc. The Balkan nation has been working to strengthen its relations with Russia and China in parallel.

In recent months, Russia has handed over to Serbia 30 battle tanks and 30 armored personnel carriers.

Serbia has also recently purchased sophisticated Russian Pantsir air defense systems, as well as attack and transport helicopters and Chinese drones.

Although formally seeking EU membership, Serbia has refused to fully align its foreign policies with the 27-nation bloc and has worked on strengthening its relations with Russia and China in parallel.


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