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Russia, Serbia wrap up joint air defense drills with S-400 systems

Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin thanked the presidents of Russia and Serbia "for their hard work, as a result of which Serbia and Russia have become closer, stronger and freer"

BELGRADE, October 28. /TASS/. Russia and Serbia have wrapped up their Slavic Shield-2019 joint drills using S-400 surface-to-air missile systems and a battery of Pantsyr-S anti-aircraft missile/gun launchers, the press office of Serbia’s Defense Ministry reported on Monday.

"The Slavic Shield joint tactical drills will become a traditional exercise and we will be training together in the upcoming period to defend the freedom of our sky. The name of the drills Slavic Shield speaks about our closeness, common origin and common values. However, our common future and our firm intention to defend our freedom binds us even more than our common origin and common values," Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin said at a ceremony of handing in memorable medals to mark the completion of the joint maneuvers.

The defense minister thanked the presidents of Russia and Serbia "for their hard work, as a result of which Serbia and Russia have become closer, stronger and freer."

"Thanks to the policy of President [Aleksandar] Vucic, the policy of military neutrality, Serbia will no longer be alone as was the case in 1999 when it became the target of NATO’s aggression. Thanks to the policy of military neutrality, we can arm ourselves and can choose our friends while enemies will set up their mind on their own without our wish," the defense minister said.

The Slavic Shield-2019 Russian-Serbian drills were held for the first time and consisted of two stages. The first stage took place in September at the Russian Aerospace Force’s combat training center in the southern Astrakhan Region.

The second stage involved the teams of an S-400 air defense system and Pantsyr-S anti-aircraft missile/gun launchers of Russia’s Aerospace Force, and also Neva-M1T and Kub-M surface-to-air missile systems of Serbia’s Air Force and Air Defense Forces.

The Slavic Shield-2019 exercise practiced the issues of inter-operability of air defense troops from both countries.

S-400 and Pantsyr-S air defense systems

Russia’s S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is the latest long-and medium-range surface-to-air missile system that went into service in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, and can also be used against ground installations. The S-400 can engage targets at a distance of up to 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 km under intensive enemy fire and jamming.

The Pantsyr-S1 (NATO reporting name: SA-22 Greyhound) is a ground-based self-propelled surface-to-air missile/gun system designed to shield military and civilian facilities, including long-range air defense systems, from all modern and future air attack weapons.

The Pantsyr mounted on the truck chassis for greater mobility is armed with two 30mm guns, each of which is capable of firing up to 40 rounds per second, as well as 12 anti-aircraft missiles.