Serbian President Wants Croats to Ride in His New Military Helicopters

By 16 February 2019

ZAGREB, February 16, 2019 - Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said on Friday that Croats would be the first ones he would "take for a ride" in new Mi-35 military helicopters to be delivered to Serbia by Russia, an ironic comment on what he considers to be Croatia's hostile attitude towards Serbia and himself.

This year Russia is expected to deliver Mi-35 attack helicopters to Serbia, which some media outlets in Croatia have called Vučić's devil's chariots.

"You should see how beautiful the helicopters are... I will take you, Croats, first for a ride," he told Croatian reporters covering an international security conference in Munich.

Commenting on Croatian media's alleged dislike of him, Vučić said, "You love campaigning against Serbia and me personally."

"You can't wait for me to be toppled, but that won't happen," he said in an allusion to Croatian Radio and Television reports about anti-government protests in Belgrade which Serbian officials have described as unprofessional and a call for violence.

He reiterated that a recent attack on players of Belgrade's Red Star water polo team in the Croatian coastal city of Split was "horrible", insisting that something like that could never have happened to Croatian athletes in Serbia.

Summing up the results of his meeting with his Croatian counterpart Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović in Zagreb a year ago, he said that Belgrade had fulfilled 23 of 26 demands by the Croat community in Serbia.

"I would like to be able to say the same for the Serb community in Croatia, but I'm afraid that that's not the case," he said.

That Croats and Serbs can indeed cooperate well is evidenced by the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vucic said, referring to cooperation between Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik and Bosnian Croat leader Dragan Čović.

"Serbs and Croats will have to cooperate in order to survive," he concluded.

More news on relations between Croatia and Serbia can be found in the Politics section.