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Serbia Says Russia To Provide Arms To Counter Alleged Threat From Croatia

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic (right) meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Belgrade on December 12.

Amid rising tensions between Serbia and Croatia, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has said that Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic will visit Moscow later this month to discuss the possible donation of four MiG-29 jets and other unspecified military equipment.

Dacic spoke after meeting with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on December 12.

Media reports said the jets were decommissioned by the Russian Air Force and need major repairs.

Dacic said Serbia had to strengthen its armed forces in the wake of what he called NATO's arming of neighboring Croatia.

Lavrov confirmed the visit but did not disclose details of a possible agreement.

Croatia, a member of NATO and the European Union, blocked one of three negotiating chapters Serbia hoped to open by year's end in its bid to join the EU, prompting Vucic to leave Brussels in protest on December 12.

"If Croatia is the one to decide if Serbia will become an EU member, I have suddenly lost...interest," Dacic said.

Serbia wants to join the EU, but has refused to join Western sanctions imposed on Russia over its interference in Ukraine.

"Serbia will never become an anti-Russian state and we will never join sanctions against Russia," Dacic declared.

Based on reporting by AP and TASS