President Vučić: Serbian Armed Forces is stronger than ever and it will be even stronger
- I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Defence and all members of the Serbian Armed Forces, Minister Vulin and General Mojsilović. The guys did very good job, 933 soldiers participated in the exercise and you also saw a lot of materiel. Today, we can also boast of the Chinese government's donation of a total of 40 different weapons – president of the Republic of Serbia and supreme commander of the Serbian Armed Forces, Aleksandar Vučić said today, as he attended the joint tactical live firing exercise BEGEJ 2019 on the temporary Titel range together with member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik, minister of defence Aleksandar Vulin, chief of General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces General Milan Mojsilović and vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission General Zhang Youxia, the leader of the highest-level military delegation of the People's Republic of China.
President Vučić emphasized that a part of the weapons from that donation was also shown at the exercise today, including boats, and there are snowmobiles and engineering machines for our army.
According to him, until late last night, there were discussions between working groups about further strengthening of our defence and security forces, having in mind the report on the tremendously accelerated strengthening of the armed forces of many countries in our neighbourhood.
- I am satisfied with what I saw today, congratulations to everyone, they really did a great job. Congratulations also on the extraordinary courage shown by the MiG 29 pilots, because they were not allowed to fly due to weather conditions, visibility was 150 meters at the Batajnica airport – president Vučić said, asking the minister of defence to reward those pilots for what they showed today.
President Vučić emphasised that we would strengthen all the arms of our Armed Forces, and expressed his satisfaction that he had the opportunity to cooperate with General Diković as well as to be the supreme commander of the army whose chief of General Staff is General Mojsilović, saying that he is an extremely capable officer.
- I believe that they understand the moment we are in, the specificity of Serbia's position, which is militarily neutral and cannot expect help from anyone. The essence of our position is “self do self have” and we need to be strong enough to protect and safeguard our country against any potential aggressor. In these conditions, where huge amount of money is being spent and a lot of gifts are being distributed by NATO to some countries in the region, while they are telling me about 10 BRDM vehicles we received from the Russian army, while they plan to deliver 60 Bradley's, and they also delivered 220 “mraps” – President Vučić stressed, adding that they are getting well armed and we will be ready.
According to President Vučić, the Serbian Armed Forces is stronger than it was before, stronger than ever, adding that it is not yet strong enough, but that it will be even stronger.
- When it comes to members of the Armed Forces, they will have higher incomes, and I believe that by February the first soldiers will be moved to new apartments that we started to build in Vranje, Niš, Novi Sad and Kragujevac, and soon we will start to build in Belgrade. I believe that even after that they will see that whoever serves their homeland can get the attention and care of their country and that is what our job is – President Vučić said.
Today, in Titel, there was also a member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik, who expressed his pleasure at being able to attend this exercise that testifies to the ability of the Serbian Armed Forces to defend the territory of Serbia and the Serbian people in all conditions.
- I am glad that I had the opportunity to see myself the ability, training, equipment and everything that is important for a feeling that all of us Serbs have and love – that we have a stable, well organised and strong army – Milorad Dodik said.
Watching the exercise from the Kozara special purpose vessel sailing the Tisza river, guests had the opportunity to see the exercise involving more than 900 members of the Serbian Armed Forces with about 200 pieces of weaponry, including combat and non-combat vehicles, engineering assets, craft and aircraft.
The BEGEJ 2019 live fire exercise, dubbed ‘Battle group in attack with forced river crossing’, depicts an Army ground attack operation conducted by Army units reinforced by Special Brigade teams in cooperation with the Air Force and Air Defence.
Lieutenant General Milosav Simović, Army Commander, was responsible for planning, organising and executing the exercise, Brigadier General Vladeta Baltić, Deputy Army Commander, was the Exercise Director, and Colonel Dragan Radaković, chief of staff of the 1st Army Brigade, was commander of the battle group conducting the exercise.
The exercise was carried out in several stages, including the infiltration of a reconnaissance group into the enemy's combat formation and special assault landing in the depth of the enemy's formation, mine action, laying river mine obstacles and preventing the attack of enemy warships with anti-ship actions, aviation preparation of attacks and air support, river landing operation, transverse transport of combat equipment across the river and launch into combat, attack on an enemy’s command ship, mine clearing of waterways, naval, anti-ship and infantry operations against land and water targets, installation of a pontoon bridge and crossing of the combat group over the bridge.
According to General Baltić, the specificity of this exercise is in the use of part of the weapons that the People's Republic of China has already donated to the Republic of Serbia in the previous period, and in the final part of the exercise, part of the weapons from the donation presented today were engaged.
After the exercise, upon the return of the Kozara ship to the Titel temporary training ground, the agreement signing ceremony was arranged for the handover of the equipment donated by the People's Republic of China to the Serbian Armed Forces. The agreement on donation was signed by Brigadier General Milan Popović, Chief of the Planning and Development Department of the General Staff, and Major General C Guawei, Head of the Office of International Military Cooperation of the Central Military Commission of PR China.
The exercise was attended by Nikola Selaković, secretary-general of the President of the Republic of Serbia, Igor Mirović, prime minister of the Provincial Government members of the Collegium of the Minister of Defence and the Collegium of the Chief of General Staff, representatives of the diplomatic and military diplomatic corps, local self-government and numerous guests.