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Serbia Says Will Purchase Russian Military Jets

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

Serbia has announced it will purchase Russian military jets in a move that could add to tensions in the Balkans amid alleged Russian attempts to block countries in the region from joining Western institutions.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on December 19 that he will travel to Moscow later this week to sign a deal that will include six MiG-29 fighters, which he says are needed "to protect our freedom and sovereignty."

Despite officially pursuing EU membership, Serbia has been sliding closer to its traditional Slavic ally Russia. Commentators say Moscow has launched a major propaganda effort to keep it away from the West.

The regional tensions have risen in the wake of an alleged coup attempt in October by Serbian and Russian nationalists against Montenegro's pro-Western government for its efforts to joining NATO.

Based on reporting by AP and Interfax