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Serbia to host Slavic Shield air defense drills in mid-October, says source

According to Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin, in 2019, Russia and Serbia held 96 joint military exercises

BELGRADE, September 27. /TASS/. The Slavic Shield joint Russian-Serbian military exercise will take place in Serbia in mid-October 2021, a military source told TASS, adding that the exercise is going to involve the Pantsir-S air defense systems that will arrive from Russia.

"The Slavic Shield air defense exercise will take place in Serbia in mid-October with involvement of Russian Pantsirs," the source said.

During the Slavic Shield exercise held in 2019, Moscow employed the S-400 missile air defense system beyond Russia’s border for the first time.

The exercise also involved the Pantsir-S missile and artillery air defense systems, as well as the Neva-M1T and Kub-M systems of the Serbian Armed Forces.

Following the exercise, Belgrade acquired the Pantsir-S1 systems. Later, on September 15, 2021, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic divulged that Belgrade had procured the upgraded Pantsir-S1M system.

"The new Pantsir is 5,000 30-mm rounds per minute; this can mow down mountains," the Serbian president noted.

Russian-Serbian military cooperation

Earlier, Russia shipped 30 T-72MS tanks and 30 BRDM-2MS armed personnel carriers to Serbia, to the tune of 75 million euro. Vucic also announced that the first shipment of Kornet man-portable anti-tank missiles would be shipped to Serbia before the end of this year. Between 2018 and 2020, Russia also delivered four Mi-35M helicopters, six MiG-29 jet planes, ten BRDM-2 armored vehicles, three Mi-17V-5 transport helicopters, as well as Pantsir-S1 air defense systems.

Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin said in an interview with TASS that the Serbian Army’s combat readiness has been considerable beefed up thanks to military-technical cooperation with Moscow. According to Vulin, in 2019, Russia and Serbia held 96 joint military exercises.