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BELGRADE, Serbia – Russia has started the delivery of six MiG-29 fighter jets to Serbia, a move that could worsen tensions with neighboring states.
Serbian media say that two of the warplanes were transported, disassembled, on a Russian cargo plane that landed at a military airport near Belgrade on Monday afternoon. All six are to arrive by the end of this week.
Moscow is handing over the MiGs for free, but it is estimated that the overhaul of the secondhand aircraft will cost Serbia some 200 million euros ($235 million.)
Serbia has been on the path to join the European Union, but under political and propaganda pressure from Moscow has steadily slid toward the Kremlin and its goal of keeping the countries in the Balkan region out of NATO and other Western bodies.