US provides army helicopters to Croatia, Russia arms Serbs

ZAGREB, Croatia — America on Thursday delivered two Black Hawk army helicopters to Croatia, which is engaged in a mini arms race with neighboring Russian ally Serbia amid simmering tensions within the post-war Balkan area.

The U.S. Embassy in Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, mentioned the donated UH-60M multi-purpose helicopters will contribute to Croatia’s rising protection capabilities and army preparedness in help of NATO.

“The Black Hawk gives capabilities throughout a variety of doable missions, from particular operations to tactical troop transport to aeromedical evacuation,” U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Mark Fleming mentioned because the helicopters arrived on a U.S. Air Pressure transport aircraft to Zagreb.

“Croatia has earned a fame as a dedicated and succesful NATO ally, and the introduction of Black Hawks will additional enhance the capacities of the Croatian Armed Forces,” Fleming mentioned within the assertion.

Protection Minister Mario Banozic thanked the U.S. for the donation.

“It represents proof of robust, pleasant and allied relations, that are progressing yearly,” he mentioned.

Croatia final month reached an settlement with the U.S. to purchase 89 Bradley combating autos as a part of cooperation with Washington and plans as a member of NATO to kind an infantry brigade.

Croatia, which can be a member of the European Union, final 12 months agreed to buy 12 Rafale fighter jets from France.

Serbia, which was at struggle with Croatia within the Nineteen Nineties over its secession from the Serb-led Yugoslavia, has currently been arming itself principally with Russian and Chinese language warplanes, drones, and anti-aircraft programs.

In current months, Russia has handed over to Serbia 30 battle tanks and 30 armored personnel carriers.

Serbia has additionally just lately bought refined Russian Pantsir air protection programs, in addition to assault and transport helicopters and Chinese language drones.

Though formally in search of EU membership, Serbia has refused to completely align its overseas insurance policies with the 27-nation bloc and has labored on strengthening its relations with Russia and China in parallel.

With Croatia firmly standing by its NATO allies within the present tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Serbia mentioned it is going to stay impartial.