Serbia shoots down drone
Serbian air defenses have shot down a commercial drone near the boundary with Kosovo, the government in Belgrade announced on Wednesday. The incident comes a day after President Aleksandar Vucic issued a shoot-on-sight order for any UAVs violating Serbian airspace.
The drone was detected and followed in the sky over the Raska garrison and came from the direction of Mt. Kopaonik, the Serbian military said in a statement, adding the UAV was “brought down using electronic jamming measures.”
“The skies over Serbia are safe,” Defense Minister Milos Vucevic told reporters on Wednesday evening.
“We did not use cannons but the most modern [electronic] equipment,” Vucevic added. “This shows we are serious. We do not threaten anyone, we aren’t saber-rattling, but we are determined to protect Serbia and its freedom and independence.”
According to the newspaper Vecernje Novosti, the drone came down somewhere on Mt. Kopaonik. Military search parties expect to locate it before Thursday morning.
“In accordance with the standing orders of the president and commander in chief, the Serbian Army will continue to shoot down any UAVs entering restricted airspace or approaching military installations,” the military said.
Vucic announced the shoot-down order on Tuesday, after two MiG-29 interceptors were deployed against multiple UAVs spotted above the military bases in Raska.
Novosti cited unconfirmed reports that the drone was a commercial model and was used to scout the area, which is near the boundary with the province of Kosovo.
Kosovo was occupied by NATO in 1999 and declared independence in 2008 with US support. Belgrade refuses to recognize the breakaway province, a position supported by Russia and China.