Serbian Defense Minister: On orders of Vucic, the level of combat readiness increased, but we are not preparing for war

Vučević Marič
FOTO: Hepi

„The President of the Republic, as Commander-in-Chief, issued an order to the Serbian Army to be on alert, to raise the level of combat readiness to the level where it can respond to any task. Of course, no one wants conflicts and wars, and no one wants to play games,“ the Serbian Minister of Defense, Milos Vucevic, said on Happy TV this morning. The news instantly made headlines in Serbia and Kosovo, but in the region as well.

While noting that Serbia is a serious state, Vucevic said that with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti „one cannot know where one stands.“ Based on the talks Serbia led with international representatives – „it seems that they don’t want any escalation,“ he added.

It’s better to negotiate for 1000 days than to be in the trenches for one hour

In the rest of his interview for Happy TV, the tone of the Serbian Minister of Defense was completely different.

„The Serbian Army is ready to carry out every order of the President of Serbia as Supreme Commander, protecting the state of Serbia and all its citizens and taking care of the security of Serbs in Kosovo. This is the task of the Serbian army and no one should doubt that, and we support, we want these things to happen and take place at the negotiating table in the dialogue. It’s better to negotiate for 1000 days than to be in a trench for one hour,“ he said.

„No one wants a war. In the 20th century, we went to war both when we should and when we shouldn’t. We perished sometimes even for those for whom the Serbian people should not have perished. Today we need peace and stability. When Serbia talks about peace and stability, it does not mean that we are weak and cowards, that they can humiliate us“.

„Tensions increasing in the region: Vucic issued a new order for the army because of Kosovo“

The news that the Serbian President issued an order to the Serbian Armed Forces to be on alert and raised the level of combat readiness immediately made headlines in Serbian news agencies and media, which was quickly picked up by Kosovan media.

Kosovan media outlets such as Koha, Zeri, and Kallxo reported on the news in almost identical articles and headlines, linking the situation with the license plate issue. RTK had an explicit headline on its cover: „Serbia threatens again, puts army on alert“.

Except for Pristina-based Koha, most of these media cited themselves as the source of the news.

Regional media also extensively reported on the situation.

„Tensions are growing in the region: Vucic issued a new order for the army because of Kosovo,“ reports Radio Sarajevo ba.

„The situation in Kosovo is heating up! – Vucic ordered the Serbian army to be put on alert: It is much stronger than it was“ – reads the headline published by the Oslobodjenje portal from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Croatian and Montenegrin media also reported on the latest news regarding the Kosovo issue.

What else did Vucevic say?

Although he said that the Serbian military is much stronger than it used to be and that it acts on the orders of the state leadership and President, this Serbian minister repeated several times that he does not want anyone to perceive the move as preparation for war.

Vucevic also listed all the ways the Serbian Armed Forces can improve even more. He also spoke about the 25% increase in wages for members of the army.

„But I repeat, when we talk about it, I really don’t want anyone to perceive that we are preparing for war, but we cannot be a society that is completely unprepared for some situations that are happening or have happened, and I can also put natural disasters as something that happens occasionally. In such cases, if the population is untrained, if you don’t have those who can respond to those tasks – you have far more serious consequences, a much worse situation than you could not easily correct or rehabilitate. The army is always the first to be hit when there are floods, earthquakes, and blizzards. That’s why the army deserves much more attention and support.“

To the Happy TV journalist Milomir Maric’s remark that military equipment was arriving from Russia, the new Minister of Defense replied that he expects delivery from France, that they had already procured some equipment from the US, and that they were waiting for new helicopters from another Mediterranean country.

The fact that Serbia is procuring the best weapons possible, he assesses as a strategically smart decision. On the other hand, he shared Serbia’s concern about the arming of the KSF, which is contrary, as he stated, to the Kumanovo Agreement.

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