“A great help in combat.” Serbia quietly supports Ukraine

Since Russia’s occupation of Ukraine in 2022, the volume of ammunition exports from Serbia to Ukraine through third parties is approximately 800 million euros, according to the Financial Times.

– This is part of our economic development, which is important for us. Yes, we export our ammunition. We cannot export to Ukraine or Russia, but we have many contracts with Americans, Spaniards, Czechs and others. What they do with it is their business. Even if I knew [dokąd trafia amunicja – przyp. red.], it’s not my job to make sure our ammunition sales are legal. I have to take care of my people, that’s all. “I can only say that we have friends in Kiev and Moscow,” Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said.

Support for Ukraine

Serbia is not a member of NATO or the European Union, and its people have long felt an emotional attachment to Russia and hatred of the West since NATO bombed their country in 1999. Belgrade also hopes that Moscow will block international recognition of Kosovo. Vucic resists Western pressure to impose economic sanctions on Russia, although he wants his country to become an EU member. He wants to be cautious and distance himself from Vladimir Putin.

According to analysts, it has become more important for the West to seek support for Ukraine than to push Serbia’s nationalist leader towards democratic reforms.

– Vucic is silent about the fact that Ukraine has support, but not directly, says Ivan Vejvoda, a researcher at the Humanities Institute in Vienna. – speaks profanity. It’s obvious he doesn’t want to admit it — he wants his far-right to be happy — that Serbia is actually providing Ukraine with huge help in its fight against Russia, he added.

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Serbia’s participation in the supply of ammunition to Ukraine has been so hidden that official data do not reflect it, according to diplomats and analysts. Although Serbian officials note that the arms industry is growing rapidly.

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