Russia Launches Drills in Serbia as NATO Tensions Increase

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Russia and Belarus are to send troops for a week-long military drill in Serbia for the second time this year, the Serbian Ministry of Defense has announced.

The drill, entitled the Slavic Fraternity, will involve the deployment of paratroopers across several locations, including in the outskirts of the capital city of Belgrade. The exercise will engage 212 Russian troops, 56 Belarusian troops and 450 troops from the host country Serbia.

This is the second drill of Russian troops in as many months on Serbian territory, as the the two countries held a joint air-force drill, during which Russian troops practiced radiocommunication in Serbian.

Serbia has historically been a non-aligned state, and though it is currently vying to join the EU, the government has said that NATO membership is “a complicated issue” for Belgrade. Allied operations against the Yugoslav regime in the 1990s have soured popular opinion, despite eight of its neighbors being either members or applying for membership.

As in many Balkan countries, Serbs have a historical relationship with Russia, sharing the Orthodox faith and a Slavic language. Russia is one of the few major powers to support Serbia in refusing to recognize Kosovo as an independent state.

Full article: Russia Launches Drills in Serbia as NATO Tensions Increase (Newsweek)

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