The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Russia’s delivery of S-400 air defense systems to Serbia for its first ever drill abroad. The S-400 missile systems will be showcased in the second stage of joint Russian-Serbian ‘Slavic Shield 2019’ drills, the ministry said in a statement.
A division of Russia’s S-400 Triumph and Pantsir-S1 missile systems arrived at Batajnica Air Base near Belgrade for military exercises with video footage released by Russia’s Ministry of Defense. It marks the first time that the missile systems have taken part in a drill abroad. The first stage of Slavic Shield 2019 took place in Russia’s Astrakhan region in September. The second part took place on October 23rd and concluded on October 29th.
The S-400s, along with a battery of Pantsirs, were deployed at Batajnica Air Base, 25km from Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday. They are there to take part in the ‘Slavic Shield 2019’ joint military drill.
It is the first Russian-Serbian exercise of its kind, as well as the first time Moscow’s state-of-the-art air defense missile systems have taken part in a drill abroad.
Serbian troops had the opportunity to observe the S-400s in action last month, when the first phase of the drill was launched in southern Russia.
The countries share a long history of friendly relations and, despite being surrounded by NATO member states, Belgrade remains Russia’s closest ally in the Balkans. Last year, Russia delivered jets, helicopters, tanks, APCs, and radars to Serbia. The country is currently expecting a delivery of Pantsir-S1s, while some of its politicians expressed interest in obtaining S-400s as well.
S-400s were recently purchased by Turkey and India. Both states were pressured by the US to scrap the contracts but went ahead with the deals anyway.