MiG-29s Russia Donated to Serbia Start Arriving in Belgrade

Under the deal six fighters will be delivered free of charge but Serbia will pay $235 million to have them refurbished

Two disassembled MiG-29 fighters that Russia has donated to Serbia arrived in the country late on Monday aboard a Russian Antonov An-124 transport plane.

Starting on Monday, parts of the six used MiG-29 warplanes that Russia has donated to Serbia will start arriving in Serbia.

The plan is for all six warplanes to be transported to Serbia in this way by Friday, October 6.

The An-124 was welcomed with a ceremony last night at the military airport Batajnica near Belgrade, and by Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin, Serbian Army (VS) chief General Ljubisa Dikovic, and Air Force and Air Defense (RV PVO) commander General Ranko Zivak. 

Vulin said the information had been received that the agreement by Serbian and Russian presidents about Russia's military-technical assistance - reached late last year - would be fulfilled on October 2, and that this had happened. 

"By Friday, the remaining four planes will also arrive and we will be able to say with pride that for the first time since 1987 our Air Force is receiving new aircraft," Vulin said. 

"Today is a great day for our Army and our Air Force, because after dozens of years we are receiving planes, which is very important for the overall defensive capability of our country," said Dikovic. He thanked the president and the government for securing the aircraft and stressed that the Air Force had been "saved by today's act." 

Zivak emphasized that this was "a historic day for our Air Force and Air Defense," adding that these aircraft will be a significant contribution to Serbia's capabilities, and that members of the RV PVO will do their best to ensure that security of the Republic of Serbia and its airspace is at the highest level. 

Some citizens also gathered last night near the military airport to see the arrival of the Antonov, Vecenje Novosti has reported. 

Russians technicians have arrived along the MiGs to help their Serbian colleagues assemble the planes. 

The MiGs, that have been repainted before they were disassembled and transported, have new markings - the Serbian tricolor. They will have to be overhauled after they are shown publicly, said the daily Blic.

Source: B92

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