Minister Stefanović: Serbia strives hard to safeguard peace, because it knows too well the cost of wars and conflicts
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Nebojša Stefanović, PhD, has attended the ceremony marking the Aviation Day at the Colonel Pilot Milenko Pavlović Barracks in Batajnica. On this occasion, the Minister said he was satisfied with how well-equipped the Air Force and Air Defence units were, emphasizing Serbia's all-out effort to safeguard peace, knowing too well the cost of wars and conflicts.
Accompanied by Air Force and Air Defence Commander, Lieutenant General Duško Žarković, and Commander of the 204th Air Brigade, Brigadier General Brane Krnjajić, he laid a wreath at the monument entitled “No One Said No”, dedicated to all aviation members who lost their lives. On the occasion of the Aviation Day, unit members, some of whom received awards and commendations, held a parade at the airfield in Batajnica.
- I would like to offer my congratulations to you on the Aviation Day and wish you a happy Patron Saint Day celebrated by your branch. When I first visited this airfield as the Minister of Defence, accompanied by General Žarković, I could see two things in the eyes of this outstanding officer. The first thing was sadness for his lost comrades, our officers, NCOs and soldiers who laid down their lives for Serbia, and the second thing was pride, because all these people have always chosen their country and their people. Today, I would like to thank Duško Žarković and all of you, wonderful people of our Air Force and Air Defence, for all the sacrifices you have made, for your struggle, perseverance, but also for everything you have done to make our people proud – said Minister Stefanović.
According to him, this respect and admiration of the entire nation was deservedly earned in unequal wars that we had to wage.
- Wars that halted the development and strengthening of our country, wars in which we showed that there was no turning back, in which no one said no - because we were defending the most sacred thing, our homeland. The wars in which we showed what we are made of and how brave and fearless Serbian people are, fighting exclusively righteous battles. Those wars, unfortunately, left us without our loved ones, our grandparents, parents, closest relatives. In those wars, our soldiers proved their worth, without the help of technological miracles, but fighting with all their hearts, like so many times before against much stronger enemies, and those wars left us with deep scars, because of them we often had to rebuild this country from scratch. And we have always defended what is ours - said Minister Stefanović.
Our largest military airfield bears the name of Colonel Pilot Milenko Pavlović, the Minister of Defence reminded. The lives and suffering of Colonel Pilot Pavlović and other heroes of the Serbian aviation, the Minister emphasized, are the true image of what Serbia has faced with throughout its history.
- The exploits of Milenko Pavlović, as well as Major Radosavljević, Lieutenant Colonel Đurić, General Veličković and hundreds of our pilots whose deeds made them immortal, were legendary. We are forever indebted to them and their families. We honour them and are grateful to them for giving their lives, the most valuable thing they had, for their homeland. And we owe it to them to make sure that their children, grandchildren and their heirs, the new generation of pilots at our airfields, and all other children in Serbia grow up in peace, and to build a Serbia where newborn children will live in abundance and to develop a modern, economically strong country - Minister Stefanović said.
This is exactly why Serbia strives hard to safeguard peace, because it knows too well the cost of wars and conflicts, Minister Stefanović said.
- That is why we have made sure that our Air Force members do not rely solely on their courage and great heroic heart. Under the guidance of President Aleksandar Vučić, we have done everything to make sure that you have a squadron of modernized MiG-29s, Mi-35 combat helicopters, Mi-17 transport helicopters, the H145-M, air defence missile systems such as the FK-3 and Pantsir, unmanned aerial vehicles. That is why we are also testing our Pegasus and planning to start its serial production. We are doing all this to strengthen our armed forces and make it clear to everyone that Serbia wants peace, but that it will not allow anyone to kill its children, and if anyone even thinks of threatening the security of our people, they should give up the idea - Minister Stefanović said.
He finished his address by thanking all the members of the Air Force and Air Force once again for always being there for their people.
- It is a big thing, because we have only one homeland, one Serbia. I expect you to carefully guard the skies of our homeland and I wish you a lot of success in your future careers and your lives. Long live the Serbian Armed Forces! Long live Serbia! - said Minister Stefanović.
Commander of the 126th Army Brigade, Colonel Aleksandar Dučić, Head of the Defence Minister’s Office, Colonel Stevan Kotarlić, the families of the fallen members of the Air Force and Air Defence, former unit commanders and local self-government representatives also attended the ceremony marking the Aviation Day.