BELGRADE, July 29. /TASS/. Serbia hopes to be through with the modernization of the MiG-29 fighter jets it received from Russia free of charge by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit expected in November, Serbian President Aleksanadar Vucic said on Sunday.
Eight or nine modernized fighter jets will come into service in late October-early November, said Vucic who attended military drills.
"In late October - early November, we will have at least eight or none MiG-29 planes in the sky over Serbia. We have never had that many 4+ generation MiG-29 in Serbia," he noted.
He also said that the Russian president is expected to pay a visit to Serbia in November. "[French President] Emmanuel Macron will visit Serbia in December and Vladimir Putin will arrive in Serbia in November," he told journalists.
Vucic said earlier that Putin’s visit in November was seen as a great honor for his country. The visit was announced by Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic.
The Kremlin however has not announced such a visit.
On June 12, the Serbian president congratulated Russians on the national holiday, Russia Day, and invited Putin to visit his country.
Serbia is also looking at buying four Mi-35 combat helicopters, three Mi-17 transport helicopters and plans to buy nine X145M helicopters.
Six MiG-29 fighter jets reached Serbia in October 2017. Now the warplanes are to be modernized in three stages. The country plans to spend a sum from 180 million to 230 million euro for these purposes. Along with MiG-29 fighter jets, Russia’s assistance to Serbia will include 30 T-72 tanks and 30 BRDM-2 combat patrol vehicles. Apart from that, the sides are discussing supplies of Buk-M1 and Buk-M2 missile systems and Tunguska surface-to-air gun and missile systems.
In April 2018, Serbia received four MiG-29 fighter jets from Belarus.