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Authorities have not started the procedure for the import of MiGs even after half a year

Serbian authorities have not started the procedure for obtaining licenses to import six MiG 29 fighter jets despite their numerous announcements that “the aircrafts are coming soon.” The licenses for import that are needed so aircraft's can even arrive to Serbia should be obtained by the importer, in this case Jugoimport SDPR.

Srdjan Ilic: MiG 29 at the military airport in Batajnica, near Belgrade
Foto: Srdjan Ilic / MiG 29 at the military airport in Batajnica, near Belgrade

 Ten days ago, the Defense Minister Zoran Djordjevic announced that “six 29 MiGs will arrive to Serbia soon.”

“Until now, I was saying that MiGs will arrive to Serbia on time, now I can say that they will arrive to Serbia soon,” the Minister told journalists.

In addition to the aircrafts, Serbia is getting thirty T-72 tanks and thirty BRDM-2 amphibious armoured cars. According to the Defense Minister Zoran Djordjevic, the tanks and armored cars will also be repaired. They are a modern version of those that Serbia already has in its armament. The question is why Serbia needs more tanks when there are already over 200 operational tanks of a more advanced model T-84 and several T-72s. The T-84 model was made in former Yugoslavia, and it is far superior to its older platform T-72. Serbia also has several hundreds of older tank models in reserve, which makes it a regional power given that some of the Balkan countries have far less tanks, while others, like Montenegro, do not even have tanks in their armament.

Insajder journalists asked the Ministry of Trade, which is in charge of import licenses, whether any institution asked for permit/license for importing six MiG aircrafts.

“We inform you that in the database of the Ministry of Trade there is no requests for importing MiG jets from theRussian Federation,” stated the Ministry in a written response to Insajder.

In mid December, the Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic announced before his visit to Moscow that Serbia will purchase six MiG-29s from Russia. From his initial statement, it was unclear whether the aircrafts would be a donation or whether Serbia would buy them.

It was confirmed afterwards that the aircrafts are a donation, but Serbia will have to pay around 185 million USD for their reparation.

In case of emergency, the import license can be issued within 24 hours
A Permit for the import or export of military equipment and weapons could be issued within 24 hours, but only when it comes to fulfilling the obligations of Serbia “arising from international agreements and membership in international organizations, participation in multinational operations or international military exercises performed in or outside of the territory of the Republic of Serbia.”
The law also states that a permit issued within one day is issued in case of import and export of arms “in order to provide humanitarian aid or donation but only in cases of emergency.”

Nenad Miloradovic, the Deputy Minister of Defense, in March confirmed for the Radio Free Europe that Russian airplanes will be disassembled in the Russian Federation and transported to Serbia by cargo aircrafts.

Milovanovic said that he did not know the details of how the transportation will be managed, whether some of the Russian officials will come or whether there will be a welcoming ceremony.
Ministry of Trade also issues the End User Certificate

For import of arms and military equipment, it is necessary for an importer to have an End User Certificate. It is also necessary to have a signed contract with an exporter. When the importer provides the contract to the authorities in accordance with the regulations, the importer applies for the import permit.

The permit is valid for one year from the date of issue. In order to obtain the permit, the importer, in this case Jugoimport SDPR, also needs to provide all the relevant data about the company, total value of the weapons, and military equipment that they want to import.

Insajder journalists asked the Ministry of Trade for all this information, but it can be seen from their reply that even they do not have the necessary information.

For issuing the import license it is also necessary for the importer to obtain the consent of the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and National Security Agency BIA.

The aircrafts have been arriving since March

The date of the arrival of the six MiGs from the Russian Federation has been continuously postponed for months now. In December, Nenad Miloradovic, the Deputy Minister of Defense stated that the MiGs will arrive to Serbia in March.

In March, General Bojan Zrnic, who is also member of the Serbian-Russian Committee for Military-technical cooperation, stated that the arrival of the aircrafts should be expected in the following weeks.

Former Prime Minister and current President Aleksandar Vucic also announced “the quick arrival of the aircrafts” on several occasions.

“I expect that President Putin will sign the executive order soon and the six MiGs should be quickly transferred to Serbia,” said President Vucic in March during his visit to Moscow.

President Vucic added on that occasion that the procedure of the aircrafts transfer will not take months but weeks.

In the end of June, President Vucic said that he is expecting the MiGs “very soon.”

“[They will arrive] very, very soon. I will not tell you the exact term but I think I know the date,” said President Vucic.

Senka Vlatkovic Odalovic

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