The Russian ambassador to Serbia Alexander Bocan-Harchenko presented the country's Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin with Russia's Federal Service Director Memorial for his part in military-technical cooperation between the two countries.
The ceremony of decorating the Defence Ministry and the Army of Serbia was organised on the occasion of 75th anniversary of the victory over fascism.
"The relationship between the defence ministries of the Russian Federation and Serbia has never been better, never more substantial, more honest," Vulin said. He thanked Russia for looking after Serbia and for noticing how much Belgrade wanted its relations with Moscow to be at the highest level.
The Russian President’s spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said that Moscow respects Serbia’s decision to suspend participation in joint military excercises with other countries and denied that the Kremlin sees the decision as the result of pressure from the West. He said that the issue was discussed in a telephone conversation by Presidents Vladimir Putin and Aleksandar Vucic.
Bocan-Harchenko said that Thursday's event was significant after Russia's and Serbia's presidents talkedover the phone earlier in the day and expressed the satisfaction with the development of the bilateral cooperation.
Vulin was decorated a day after Belgrade suspended all military exercises, including the five-day 'Slavic Brotherhood,' training with Russia and Belarus, planned to start on Thursday.
The suspension is said to be prompted by harsh reactions from the European Union to the announced exercise.
The first to warn about the Army of Serbia's participation in the exercise with Belarus was Vladimir Bilcik, the Europen Parliament envoy, the Belgarde Vecernje Novosti daily reported on Thursday. The daily said that Germany joined him and that the EU threatened Serbia with sanctions and the blockade of its European integration.