How did Serbian rockets end up in Ukraine?

Serbia has not officially exported weapons to Ukraine since the beginning of the armed conflict in Donbas, and later the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Nevertheless, the Russian media report that the rockets from the Krušik arms factory, through intermediaries, ended in the hands of the Ukrainian army, who have confirmed that the weapons produced in Serbia had been smuggled to the front before. And one name is frequently mentioned when this topic comes up – Slobodan Tešić, i.e. the companies connected with him. To remind, Tešić has been blacklisted by the U.S. Administration and is not allowed to enter the US.

The video shared on the website of the Russian newspaper, Mash, shows a military warehouse in Bratislava, where 3,500 122mm GRAD rockets, produced by Serbia’s Krušik factory, are allegedly stored.

Mash has also shown documents from which, they say, can be seen how the rockets reached the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence via Turkey and Slovakia.

According to the Law on Export and Import of Armaments and Military Equipment, Serbian authorities must know, at all times, who is the end user of the weapons and military equipment Serbia exports, which is why the Serbian authorities demand that weapons buyers should sign the statement that they will not sell weapons to third parties.

According to the article, the certificate for Krušik’s rockets was obtained by the Turkish State Armaments Agency, so, if the claims from the Russian media are correct, it remains unclear how the rockets arrived in Ukraine via Slovakia.

A former employee of the Security Department at the arms producer Jugoimport SDPR, Aleksandar Milovanović said that that was a rather complex scheme that could not have been implemented without the state leadership knowing first.

“3,500 rockets were sold to the Sofag Company, which is allegedly owned by the daughter of Slobodan Tešić. Then, they forwarded the rockets to the JNJ Company which then sold them to the Arca Company (Turkey). Based on the end-user certificate that goes directly from the Turkish agency that is the counterpart of our Ministry (of Defence), those weapons should have ended up in Turkey. But apparently, that did not happen. The MSM Novaky Company then forwarded the rockets to the Global Ordnance Trading Company owned by Marc Morales, which has been issued a user certificate by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence,” says Milovanović for N1.

On the other hand, Serbian Defence Minister, Miloš Vučević, says that everything that happens after the weapons are delivered to Turkey is a matter of international trade.

The Krušik Company has issued a rebuttal, claiming that the company has never been involved in the sales of weapons to Ukraine.

(N1, 28.02.2023)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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