China sends planes and missiles to Serbia, an ally of Moscow

China’s military planes have delivered “regular military supplies” to Serbia. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijiang commented on six unusual Y-20 transport planes that landed in Belgrade on Saturday. According to a spokesman, the move is part of the two countries’ annual cooperation plan, which does not target any third parties and “has nothing to do with the current situation”.

The arrival of the aircraft sparked strong speculation that HQ-22 would carry ground missiles under the terms of an agreement previously signed by the parties. China itself confirmed sending them.

Six transport Y-20s flying over the airspace of two NATO countries (Turkey and Bulgaria) landed at the Nikola Tesla Civil Airport in Belgrade on Saturday to deliver Serbia-ordered missiles with close ties to Russia. Their purchase was encouraged by the United States in 2020, warning that entry into the EU or other Western alliances would involve the use of defensive systems with more consistent and Western standards.

Missiles made in China, delivered amidst the instability of the Balkans, are often compared to the American Patriots or Russian S-300s, although they have a lower range: 170 km at an altitude of 27 km. Serbia was the first European country to purchase such Chinese weapons.

Serbia’s Ministry of Defense has not yet responded to requests for comment Associated Press. President of Serbia Alexander Vusic Saturday confirmed the delivery of medium-range systems agreed in 2019 that would present the Serbian army’s “new pride” on Tuesday or Wednesday. Vucic’s government reaffirmed a new decree, voted in favor of UN resolutions condemning Russia’s occupation of Ukraine, but decided not to support international sanctions against Moscow.

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