Serbia says it is disappointed with Kosovo’s request to buy anti-tank missiles from the US

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — The United States has received Kosovo’s request to purchase Javelin anti-tank missiles, the U.S. ambassador to Serbia on Thursday told President Aleksandar Vucic, who expressed “deep disappointment.”

A statement by Vucic’s office said Ambassador Christopher Hill told him that the State Department will send Kosovo’s request to the U.S. Congress, which reviews foreign arms sales.

Kosovo is a former Serbian province which declared independence in 2008. The U.S. and most Western nations recognize Kosovo’s statehood, while Serbia as well as ally Russia and China do not.

Serbia’s president said that “for us, it is of great importance that the peace in the region is not broken and that Serbia will continue to act responsibly and contribute to stability in the Balkans.”

The proposed sale of the missile system to Kosovo comes during tensions in the region. Several times in recent months, Serbia has moved its troops to the border that is guarded by NATO-led peacekeeping troops and Kosovo’s armed forces, in what were seen by the West as hostile actions.

Vucic asserted this month that Serbia has one of the strongest armies in the Balkans, noting the “great number” of tanks it had received from Russia before its invasion of Ukraine. He pledged to continue buying arms from China and other countries, including anti-aircraft systems, fighter planes and drones.

The Javelin missile system has been used by Ukrainian forces to destroy Russian tanks and other armored vehicles.

Kosovo has boosted its armed forces with drones and anti-tank missiles mostly from Turkey, which has angered Belgrade.

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