Serbia buys Pantsir-S1 air defence system

Serbia has purchased and will soon receive the Pantsir-S1 air defence system from Russia, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić has announced. He made the announcement on 24 October at Batajnica airbase, Belgrade, while visiting the first Russo-Serbian air defence exercise ‘Slavic Shield 2019’, the second part of which is being held in Serbia on 23-29 October.

“Our servicemen are going through training and I expect within a month or two will be able to show the deadly effects of the system against cruise missiles and small unmanned aerial vehicles in a military exercise in Serbia,” Vučić said. “If Serbia possessed two S-400 battalions, nobody would dare challenge the sovereignty of its skies.” He added that “Serbia would like to have the S-400 but unless the Russians leave it behind [after the exercise], it cannot afford it”.

One wonders what this last cryptic message actually means, and if whether there is any possibility that Russia might find a way to “leave behind” the S-400s for Serb use.