A leaked document claims Russia's ally Serbia is sending weapons to Ukraine.

A leaked US intelligence document lists Serbia as a country that has sent or is ready to send lethal aid to Ukraine, a revelation that could fuel a rift between longtime ally Russia and the Balkan nation.

The document, dated March 2 and part of a trove of classified information leaked online, includes a chart that places Serbia in a group of European countries that refuse to provide training to Ukraine’s military but are “committed to or committed to providing lethal assistance.” ” was the presence of the chart that appeared in the New York Times. Reuters first reported on Wednesday.

Unconfirmed reports by Russian news media that Serbian weapons and ammunition had entered Ukraine’s military treasury prompted Moscow to issue an official explanation last month and Serbian President Aleksandar Vacic warned that arming Ukraine was a “serious question” that could damage relations. between the two nations.

Serbia on Wednesday sent military equipment to Ukraine, after pro-Kremlin news outlets in Russia reported secret military aid in March, and Russia’s foreign ministry said it was “deeply concerned” about the reports.

The big question is whether the transfer of Serbian weapons into Ukrainian hands was facilitated by Mr. Vučić’s government or was done without the government’s approval, experts say, less than if foreign arms dealers were working with Serbia. The arms industry is notorious for corruption and intransigence.

Serbia has a large arms industry, producing artillery shells and other items compatible with Ukraine’s mostly Soviet-era weapons.

Serbian Defense Minister Milos Vucevic on Wednesday dismissed a US intelligence document as untrue, saying: “Serbia does not sell weapons to Ukraine or Russia, nor to countries surrounding that conflict.”

Serbia, an Orthodox nation with a long history of cooperation, has sought to balance its relationship with Moscow with its desire to join the European Union.

Serbia has declared itself neutral in the conflict by refusing to join EU sanctions against Russia, but in The United Nations passed a resolution last month condemning Russia and calling for its “immediate withdrawal” from Ukraine.

Serbia’s request to join the European Union has been stalled for 14 years The President of Serbia, Mr. Vucic, stressed that his country wants to push forward with its request.. But he has faced strong criticism from hard-line nationalists who want Serbia to move closer to Russia rather than to Europe.

In the year Mr. Vucic’s balancing act has been made more difficult by Kosovo, a former Serbian state that declared independence in 2008, but is deeply divided between the majority ethnic Albanians and the small Serb minority. Protection. Russia, like Serbia and other separatist European countries, does not recognize Kosovo’s independence and remains an important ally of Serbia at the United Nations.

In February, the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo verbally accepted an agreement brokered by the European Union – and condemned by nationalists in both countries – for the normalization of their relations. Not officially signed.

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