Will Serbia now go from being an ally to an opponent of Putin?

Serbia has so far been considered an ally of Russia. However, reports suggest that relations with President Vladimir Putin are increasingly deteriorating.

So far, the Western Balkan state of Serbia has always been considered an ally of the Kremlin: Russian state media can spread their propaganda here unhindered – accordingly, the majority of Serbs support Russia’s war in Ukraine.

However, recent reports have raised doubts as to whether Serbia will continue to fully support Russian President Vladimir Putin: The news medium “Euractiv” reports, citing the Russian news portal “”, that Serbia is said to have delivered arms to Ukraine. According to the report, 122 mm rockets from the arms manufacturer Krušik were transported to Ukraine via third countries such as Turkey.

The Serbian government denied the reports. “Serbia produces and sells ammunition. If you produce ammunition, it always ends up in a war zone,” Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said, according to Euractiv. Statements like these at least suggest that Serbian ammunition could well be in use in Ukraine.

Sanctions against Russia no longer ruled out

Another report now reinforces the assumption that Serbia is rapidly changing from a supporter to an opponent of Putin: the Western Balkan state is apparently moving away from its previous course of excluding sanctions against Russia. This emerges from publications by the Russian news agency Tass: “I don’t promise that we won’t do it,” Vučić said, referring to possible sanctions against Russia.

Aleksandar Vucic
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić: In the past he supported Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Source: Darko Vojinovic/AP/dpa/dpa-bilder)

So far, Serbia has not supported the EU’s sanctions policy against Russia. In any case, the two countries maintain a friendly relationship: Serbia receives cheap gas from Russia – in return, Moscow, as a veto power in the UN Security Council, prevents Kosovo, which used to belong to Serbia, from gaining full international recognition.

Russia is “deeply concerned”

If it turns out that Serbia is supplying arms or ammunition to Ukraine, it could shake Belgrade’s relations with Russia. As soon as the alleged missile delivery became known, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Russia was “deeply concerned” about the reports.

The Balkan country has been negotiating accession to the EU since 2014. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Western partners have been demanding that Belgrade show its colors. “Close relations with Putin’s regime are no longer compatible with building a common future with the EU,” warned EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell just a few months after the outbreak of war.


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