“Serbia has the right to freely choose its political and security arrangements. NATO and Serbia are close partners and we are committed to strengthening our partnership with Serbia with full respect for its policy of neutrality”, NATO stated for Radio Free Europe. Not long after, a different statement came from the US State Department
“We urge all allies and partners to forgo transactions with Russia that could lead to the imposition of sanctions through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)”, the State Department said in response to a Voice of America. They stressed that, in discussions with senior government officials, they had repeatedly expressed concerns about the purchase of Russian military equipment by Serbia, including the purchase of the Pantsir system.
Listening to recent statements by top officials about the purchase of the Pantsir S1 system, Vladimir Zivulovic, the president of the Atlantic Council of Serbia, concluded that those people are also aware of the danger which can lead to US sanctions.
“Everybody is now justifying the fact that the supply of the Pantsir was agreed before the warning came to Serbia. I would not be surprised if sanctions were adopted, but we will see”, Zivulovic says, specifying that, if adopted, those sanctions would not hit the entire country, but only individuals who participated in the purchase.
Speaking about the opposite messages coming from both Brussels and Washington, Zivulovic stressed that NATO and the US do not always have the same goals.
“It is important for NATO that we work closely with them. Everything else is secondary to them. Bilateral relations between Serbia and the US are something else, which is why they are more concerned about the acquisition of weapons from Russia”, Zivulovic pointed out.