Responding to reporters questions in Doha, where he is attending a UN conference on under-developed nations, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić responded to media reports that Serbia is supplying weapons to Ukraine.
“This is a blatant lie. Serbia did not send weapons to anyone,” Vučić told reporters. “We have factories where we manufacture weapons, but we did not sell either weapons or munitions to Ukraine or Russia. We are clean about it…. We have many factories in the defense industry. When you produce ammunition, it always ends up somewhere on the battlefield or in a world crisis zone…. They say that we exported through Turkey. Knowing that there is a possibility that some of the goods could be sent to either side on the battlefield, we added the condition that the ammunition we transferred to Turkey cannot be re-exported.”
Serbia has resisted implementing EU and US sanctions on Moscow, which would be a widly unpopular move in the country. But are the authorities there appeasing the West in other ways? Earlier in the day, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić said that no weapons have been exported from Serbia to either Russia or Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict. The Kremlin, however, has demanded an official explanation from Belgrade about the reports of Serbia delivering rockets to Ukraine.
Whether or not Serbian authorities knew of the transfer of weapons to Ukraine, the evidence points to the involvement of companies related to shady Serbian arms dealer Slobodan Tešić, who despite being under sanctions from the U.S. Treasury Department since 2017 for bribery and violating arms embargos, is working with Biden’s Pentagon, through the intermediary of the Global Ordnance Group. As The Balkan previously reported, the Global Ordnance Group is run by Mark Morales, another disgraced arms dealer, previously indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice.
On its website, Global Ordnance boasts of a long-standing relationship with Ukraine and other Eastern European countries. They also have a cooperation agreement with the Ukrainian State munitions company Ukroboronprom. Despite his denials, Morales ties to companies related to Tešić are evident. The question remains as to how the Pentagon and Intelligence services might be involved in this operation to supply Serbian weapons to Ukraine, and whether high-level Serbian officials are involved in the operation.