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Serbia buys Rafale from France and not Mig-29 from Russia-What does it mean and which are the geopolitical implications for Greece-EU-Balkans

The war in Ukraine has many aspects beyond those visible on the battlefield, which are more damaging in the long run as we shall see.

It is known that before the start of the war in Ukraine, American and European defense companies had the main role  in relation to sales of defense material in Europe, with Russia keeping a small quota of sales of its own weapons systems to European countries on its behalf.

This allowed Moscow to have the possibility to sell even more weapon systems in the future.

However, the war in Ukraine, the US-NATO-EU sanctions against Russia, and the US-NATO move to arm the Ukrainians, initially with Russian weapons systems, that existed in any country on the European Continent, due to their familiarity with their use , while supplying them with Western-style weapon systems, has disastrous results for the Russian military industry, which is losing its last foothold in the European market, from now on.


This in turn will have geopolitical movements and realignments, particularly visible in the sensitive Balkan region.

"Serbia abandons MiG-29s, for French Dassault Rafale", is the title of an article in a reputable Bulgarian media whose highlights are as follows:

Belgrade planned to buy six MiG-29 fighters. Serbia currently has 11 Soviet MiG-29 fighter jets. By eventually acquiring the additional six, Belgrade wanted to increase the combat capability of its air force.

However, Serbia is set to abandon the Russian fighter jets. The President of Serbia Mr. Aleksandar Vučić announced that servicing the MiG-29 has become impossible. The war in Ukraine between Ukraine and Russia effectively prevents almost any military weapon system from being purchased by Russia.

For this reason, Mr. Vučić announced that Belgrade is moving towards another alternative. French Dassault Rafale fighters are the best option, the Serbian president believes. Therefore, Serbia will send a letter of request, LoR, to France.


The French fighter is the preferred choice when buying an American one is to be avoided.

Serbia, as a result of its historical conflict with the US, is not in a position at this stage to request the purchase of an American-made aircraft.

The French Rafale is the flagship of the French Air Force.

The Rafale guards the skies of Croatia, France, Egypt, India, Greece, Indonesia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.


There is no information yet on whether Serbia will request the acquisition of the Rafale with weaponry.

We can say that the choice of Belgrade is very correct at this time, as it will have access to the acquisition and integration of the best air-to-air missile in the world, the Meteor.

The French fighter can be developed in a single or two-seater version. The fighter can reach a maximum flight speed of close to 2,000 km/h. Its speed is Mach 1.4.

The Rafale has a combat range of 1,850 km. The aircraft is armed with a 30 mm GIAT 30/M791 automatic cannon. In addition to the Meteor missile, its air-to-air capability includes the MBDA MICA EM and IR and Magic II missiles.

The aircraft's air-to-surface missile attack capability should not be underestimated. Under the wings is an MBDA Storm Shadow/SCALP-EG and MBDA Apache missile. They are also considered among the best in their class in the world. The Rafale is one of the few fighter jets that can carry a nuclear-tipped missile. Although Belgrade will not take it, it should be noted that it is the ASMP-A nuclear missile.

Serbia's interest in the Rafale can be seen as another negative blow to Russian arms exports over the past 12 months. Although there is not as much Russian influence in Serbia as some believe, Belgrade has always had an excellent relationship with Moscow.


There is no accurate information on the current combat capability of the Serbian MiG-29SMs. It is clear that the aging Soviet fighter jets need maintenance, and Serbia cannot afford to rely solely on them at a time when Russia is concentrating its military production capacity in the war with Ukraine.

It is recalled that for the first time Serbia talked about the acquisition of new fighter aircraft in September of last year. Then the first rumors suggested a choice between the MiG-35 or the Chinese JF-17."

From the above, it is clear that Serbia's shift towards the purchase of the French Rafale instead of the Russian Mig-29, MiG-35 or the Chinese JF-17 that had been heard earlier as candidate fighters for purchase, also means a European shift of Serbia.

Russia loses its only stronghold in the Balkans, as a result of which Belgrade realizes that it is now completely isolated and its European perspective literally becomes a one-way street.

This will have as a consequence the smoothing of Nationalist antagonisms and tendencies in the Western Balkans and the non-malicious influence of third countries in the region, such as Turkey and Russia, which have every interest in rekindling conflicts and degenerating them into armed conflicts in the Balkans.

Greece has always had friendly relations with Serbia, while as a member of the EU-NATO it can play a very important role in the integration of Serbia into the European Union

At the same time, our country, and since Serbia follows a European perspective, should sign a military cooperation agreement with Serbia, re-creating the Athens-Belgrade axis, as in the Balkan wars of 1912-1913.






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