Serbia’s government has decided to suspend all military exercises and activities with all of its partners for the next six months to preserve its position of military neutrality, Serbia’s defence ministry announced on Wednesday (9 September), only a day ahead of the beginning of the Slavic Brotherhood 2020 exercise to be hosted by Belarus.
Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin said that Serbia was under "horrible and undeserved pressure" from the EU, the defence ministry reported.
Minister Vulin said that Serbia had been "asked not to attend a pre-arranged military drill with Belarus, unless it was willing to pay the price of abandoning a future in Europe, and be exposed to increased pressure on its policy, the Serbs in Kosovo and Republika Srpska".
The Belarusian defence ministry had previously reported that the the Serbian army, together with Russian troops, would take part in tactical military manoeuvres hosted by Belarus in the second half of September.
The Slavic Brotherhood 2020 exercise is scheduled to be held in the second half of September near the city of Brest and was to include forces from Belarus, Russia, and Serbia.
In the next six months, Serbia "will not take part in any military exercise or activity with NATO, Russia, the United States, China or the EU – either with the East or with the West", he added.
Serbia is a member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program.
"Our participation in peacekeeping operations will be carefully considered and, if necessary, suspended", Vulin said, adding that the decision was made to preserve Serbia's "position of military neutrality".