Meeting of the supreme commanders of the armies of the Republic of Serbia and the Russian Federation
President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has paid an official visit to Serbia today. President Putin was welcomed by Serbian President and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces Aleksandar Vučić with the highest state and military honours.
20:15 - At the end of his one-day visit to Serbia, Russian President Vladimir Putin was accompanied by Serbian President and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces Aleksandar Vučić to the Nikola Tesla Airport.
19:30 – In front of the Temple of Saint Sava, President Putin addressed tens of thousands gathered citizens in Serbian and Russian, to say: “Thank you for your friendship!”
19:25 – In the Temple of Saint Sava, the presidents of Serbia and Russia visited the crypt and mosaic made by artists from Russia. Presidents Vučić and Putin, together with Patriarch Irinej, symbolically installed pieces in the colours of the Serbian and Russian flags in the mosaic.
19:00 – Presidents Vučić and Putin arrived in front of the Temple of St. Sava. There they were welcomed by Patriarch Irinej of Serbia. High officials arrived to the Temple between the lines of cadets of the Military Academy.
1 6:34 – At the press conference, the Serbian President and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces Aleksandar Vučić said that today he had the opportunity to host a “proven friend of Serbia and its people”. He said he was pleased with the progress of cooperation between the two countries in all areas, stressing that numerous agreements have been signed in almost all spheres of economic and social life.
- What is also important to us is our military cooperation, which has always been not only correct, but we are grateful for the support and assistance, and because Serbia could purchase equipment at more favourable prices – President Vučić said, adding that the president of the Russian Federation, taking care of the Serbian people and Serbia, has always been of assistance to us.
Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that during today's meetings they considered military-to-military and military-technical cooperation. He stressed that Russia will continue to be of assistance to Serbian leadership to help strengthening Serbia's defence capabilities, and develop cooperation with defence companies and continue the practice of joint military exercises.
Responding to the question of a journalist whether they considered the possibility of Russia's mediation in the process of normalising relations between Belgrade and Pristina, President Vučić reminded that the negotiations with the so-called Kosovo were held under mediation of the European Union by the time the tariffs were imposed.
- It was a problem for us as it seemed that the Albanians did not want a compromise, though they may want it one day. We would like to see it, President Vučić said, adding that it is completely clear that without Russia, considering the strength it has in the Security Council, there would not be any kind of solution to the Kosovo issue. He added that before any decision, he would certainly consult with President Putin.
Nevertheless, he emphasised, when it comes to resolving the Kosovo issue, he cannot be an optimist, because at this moment it simply cannot be seen, nor he thinks that it is realistic to achieve it sooner.
According to President Putin, Russia has always actively participated in resolving these issues. And when it comes to direct mediation, we know that the European Union has acted as a mediator in resolving a number of issues, but unfortunately hardly anything has been implemented. He recalled for example the Community of Serb Municipalities that was supposed to be formed, but it was not. In addition, Resolution 1244 provides for the presence of Serb policemen and soldiers on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, but none of it exists.
- It seems to me that it is necessary to show greater respect towards international law and only in that case we can fight for a just solution – Putin said.
He added that the violation of Resolution 1244 is dangerous, and that they will do everything with their partners to ensure that international law is respected, and that the solution is just.
- We carefully monitor what is happening in the region - he said, adding that the Serbian leadership with President Vučić at the helm is working hard, doing all that for the sake of stability in the region.
Speaking about the current international and regional situation, Putin pointed out that Russia, like Serbia, is interested in keeping the situation in the Balkans stable and safe. As far as Kosovo is concerned, Russia's position is well known – we are committed to achieving mutually acceptable solution for both Belgrade and Pristina, in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 1244.
- Regrettably, Kosovo's authorities took a series of provocative steps lately, thus greatly aggravating the situation. First of all, I have in mind their decision to form a so-called Kosovo army, which is a direct violation of the said resolution – Putin said and reminded that the Resolution 1244 does not allow the creation of any army.
As President Putin added, Russia fully shares the concern of Serbian leadership and citizens, because such irresponsible actions by the Kosovo side can lead to a destabilisation in the Balkans.
President Vučić emphasised that Serbia is proud of the fact that it is an independent, free and sovereign country and not only in preserving its integrity, but also in the way how it makes decisions.
- Serbia makes decisions based on the will of its citizens, and not on the basis of the will of any other governments. No one, but Serbia's citizens, can decide what kind of policy Serbia will pursue, President Vučić said at the press conference.
16:25 - Russian President Vladimir Putin presented Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić with the Order of Alexander Nevsky for his major personal contribution to the advancement of cooperation between the two states. It is the highest-level award of the Russian state, which has so far been presented to only six Serbs, including King Milan Obrenović, Aleksandar Karađorđević and Nikola Pašić. President Vučić is the first Serb who has been awarded the Order of Alexander Nevsky in the past almost 100 years.
President Putin expressed his satisfaction to present President Aleksandar Vučić with the Order of Alexander Nevsky. He reminded that the Order of Alexander Nevsky is especially respected in Russia, that this award had been earlier bestowed upon distinguished Serbs as well and that the name of the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić will deservedly be included in the initial list of holders of the Order of Alexander Nevsky.
As President Vučić pointed out, it was a special honour for him and for Serbia to receive the Order of Alexander Nevsky as well as a great responsibility in the future work on expanding cooperation between Russia and Serbia. The president of Serbia added that this recognition also means “that we preserved Serbia as a free state”.
16:21 – Ceremony for the exchange of signed bilateral documents was held in the presence of the two presidents Vučić and Putin.
5:55 – Plenary meeting of delegations of the Republic of Serbia and the Russian Federation, attended by all members of both delegations. Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said that during the talks with the Russian President they discussed almost all topics. He once again expressed his gratitude to President Putin and the Russian Federation for the support they offer to Serbia and the Serbian people for the preservation of the territorial integrity of Serbia and, in that regard, actively help Serbia in all forums, organizations and institutions. President Vučić told the Russian people that in Serbia they will always have “sincere and good friends”.
According to President Putin, today's talks will surely create conditions for further steps in order to enhance the cooperation. Relations between the two countries, as President Putin pointed out, are strengthening in all sectors, humanitarian ties playing a serious role, and the cooperation is strengthening also in the field of military technology and assets that Russia buys in Serbia.
14:17 – President Vučić welcomed President Putin at a meeting in the Palace of Serbia and expressed his gratitude for his personal engagement in the development of Serbian-Russian relations. As he pointed out, Serbia could always count on Russian support, but Russia could always count on having an ally in Serbia. The President of Serbia also emphasized that the relations between Serbia and Russia are progressing in all spheres of social life.
President Putin thanked President Vučić and the citizens for the warm welcome. He emphasized that he was glad to have this chance to visit the friendly and brotherly Serbia and to talk “with his Serbian counterpart about what has been done and what else can be done in relations between the two countries”. According to him, there are historically deep roots and spiritual closeness between the two countries.
14:10 – Tour of the exhibition of the Archives of Serbia entitled “Serbian-Russian links in documents 1804-1918”.
14:02 – Commencement of the welcome ceremony for President Putin in front of the Palace of Serbia, with a salvo of ten honorary volleys fired from ten pieces of the Honour Guard Battalion of the Serbian Armed Forces. The report was delivered by Lieutenant Colonel Marko Marjanović. Anthems of the two countries were intoned by the Guard’s Representative Orchestra.
Delegations of the two countries are also present at the welcome ceremony. The delegation of the Republic of Serbia includes also Minister of Defence Aleksandar Vulin.
13:47 – Presidents Vučić and Putin laid wreaths at the Memorial of the Liberation of Belgrade and the Monument to the Red Army Soldier. During the battles for liberating Belgrade in 1944, around 1400 combatants of the National Liberation Army were killed together with 800 Red Army soldiers and they were buried in a common tomb.
13:43 – The presidential column of cars arrived at the Cemetery of the Liberators of Belgrade.
13:20 – The column of cars with the Presidents Vučić and Putin went to the Cemetery of the Liberators of Belgrade, where they will lay the wreaths.
13:19 – Russian President Vladimir Putin was welcomed at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport by Serbian President and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces Aleksandar Vučić with the highest state and military honours, and the ceremonial lineup of the Guard of the Serbian Armed Forces.
13.05 - Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is on a visit to Serbia today, landed at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport. Putin’s presidential plane was escorted by three MiG-29 fighter jets from the moment it entered the Serbian airspace. It is a great honour, but also for the security purpose. During the flight of Russian planes over the Serbian airspace they were escorted by six MiG-29s.
For the purpose of safe flight, there were also radars that monitored the flight of the Russian President's plane. In the air defence system, there are missile units that were also employed for the purpose of protecting President Putin's plane.
Programme for the visit of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin
Everything is ready for welcoming the Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose plane is to land at the Nikola Tesla Airport escorted by the MiG-29 aircraft of the Serbian Armed Forces. President Putin will be welcomed by the President of the Republic of Serbia and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces Aleksandar Vučić with the ceremonial lineup of the Guard.
The welcome ceremony is scheduled to be followed by laying of wreaths at the Cemetery of the liberators of Belgrade as well as the monument to a Red Army soldier.
An official welcome ceremony will be organized in front of the Palace of Serbia, along with the ceremonial lineup of the Serbian Armed Forces Guard and a salvo of ten honorary volleys fired from ten pieces of artillery.
Before the plenary meeting of the delegations of the Republic of Serbia and the Russian Federation in the Palace of Serbia, presidents Aleksandar Vučić and Vladimir Putin will hold a meeting in a narrow format.
In the afternoon, the signing of bilateral agreements in the presence of the two presidents has been scheduled.
During the visit, President Putin will present President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić with the Order of Alexander Nevsky, after which the two presidents will address the media.
Presidents Vučić and Putin will visit the Temple of Saint Sava, where the ceremonial lineup will include cadets of the Military Academy.
Secretary-General of the President of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selaković assessed that the arrival of President Putin is a very important event for Serbia and pointed out that presidents Putin and Vučić have an open and sincere relationship that could only yield good results.
Srbia is visited by the president of the country that has a clear principled attitude towards Serbia through a strategic partnership. “This friendship and the Russian assistance, affection for Serbia, the principled position in its attitude towards us is embodied in Vladimir Putin”, Selakovic told RTS.
It is the fourth time that Serbia welcomes President Putin. For this occasion, the capital is all in the colours of the Serbian and Russian flags, with billboards containing the words of warm welcome.
The visit of President Putin will be covered by hundreds of accredited journalists, photo reporters and cameramen from domestic and foreign media.
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