Serbian Defense Ministry has issued a statement denying the claims that, during UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace’s recent visit to Serbia, the two countries had signed a deal to counter Russia’s influence.
“In light of the false news reports, and with the intention of truthfully informing the public, the Ministry of Defense points out that during the visit of UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace to Serbia, no document mentioning Russia was signed, nor did minister Wallace say anything to that effect,” it says in a written statement sent by the Serbian ministry to Radio Free Europe (RFE) in the evening on June 20.
The letter was sent in response to RFE citing UK daily The Telegraph’s claims that an “important deal” to counter Russia’s “malign influence” and “manipulation” had been signed in Belgrade between Serbia and the UK and that London promised to help Serbia defend itself against these.
The UK secretary of state for defense arrived in Belgrade last week, where he met with Serbia’s highest officials, including Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Defense Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic. Following Wallace’s meeting with Stefanovic, the Defense Ministry issued a statement saying that the two officials have signed an Arrangement on Improving Cooperation in the Field of Defense, without disclosing any further details.
According to the ministry’s statement to RFE, “the only document that [Stefanovic and Wallace] signed during the visit” had been the Arrangement on Improving Cooperation in the Field of Defense, adding that Russia “is not mentioned” anywhere in it.