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Serbian defense chief says Belgrade has no plans to join NATO

The Serbian defense minister stresses the country is not considering the possibility of joining NATO and imposing sanctions on Russia

BELGRADE, August 2. /TASS/. Serbia is not considering the possibility of joining NATO and imposing sanctions on Russia, Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin said during the Air Force Day celebrations at the Batajnica Air Base on Wednesday.

"Serbia has no plans on joining NATO," he said. "If someone thinks that there is a need to exert pressure on him [Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic - TASS], then they should refrain from doing that because the president will not impose sanctions on Russia, nor will he allow Serbia to join NATO. Vucic is the only politician in Serbia who is capable of countering pressure concerning the NATO membership issue and sanctions on Russia," Vulin added.

Earlier on Wednesday, at a meeting with former Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, the Serbian president said that Belgrade would continue to protect its sovereignty and the right to make independent decisions despite the growing external pressure.

Serbia’s foreign policy is aimed at joining the European Union, maintaining friendly relations with Russia and China, as well as at developing ties with the United States. Belgrade intends to preserve military neutrality, refusing to join NATO and other military blocs. However, Brussels opposes such position trying to make Serbia understand that its European integration will only be possible on two conditions - if Serbia recognizes Kosovo and cuts ties with Russia, particularly closing down the Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center in the city of Nis.