TechSecretly supporting Ukraine. Serbian arms pipeline: covert support to Ukraine worth €800m

Secretly supporting Ukraine. Serbian arms pipeline: covert support to Ukraine worth €800m

Serbian G-2000 rockets loaded into Ukrainian BM-21 Grad.
Serbian G-2000 rockets loaded into Ukrainian BM-21 Grad.
Images source: © X (formerly Twitter) | War Noir
Przemysław Juraszek

23 June 2024 11:48

One of the more intriguing cases of significant yet covert support for Ukraine is the delivery of Serbian-made weapons estimated to be worth €800 million. Here, we explain what Serbia delivered and how.

According to the Financial Times, since February 2022, Serbia has delivered weaponry worth €800 million to Ukraine through third countries. Officially, Belgrade prohibits the export of weapons to Ukraine or Russia, but there are no such restrictions for countries like the USA, Spain, or the Czech Republic.

Serbia has a large defence industry employing approximately 20,000 people, mainly producing post-Soviet weapons and ammunition. Unsurprisingly, the local sector sought to benefit during this prosperous time with the silent consent of the Serbian government, provided that arms were not delivered directly to the countries involved in the conflict.

This approach mirrors that of Bulgaria, which provided Ukraine with up to one-third of the needed ammunition in the early stages of the war. Such strategies, which conceal the source of weapons or ammunition, have been effectively employed for decades because, for example, the political responsibility for the supply falls on the intermediary.

It's worth noting that Serbia maintains a strong pro-Russian sentiment, a legacy of the 1990s when Moscow condemned the Allied Force operation. Belgrade is also favourable to Russia due to its non-recognition of Kosovo's independence on the international stage.

here are examples of weapons from Serbia

From newer batches of equipment produced after the breakup of Yugoslavia, there are 100 mm calibre shells M63P1 for T-54/55 family tanks or field guns M1944 (BS-3) produced by the company Balkan Novoteh, or 120 mm calibre mortar shells M62P10 produced by Krušik.

The former are high-explosive fragmentation rounds containing 1.5 kg, allowing for targeting distances up to 21 km, while the latter contain 2.4 kilograms of TNT and enable bombardment distances up to 6.4 km. These are very simple shells for rather old systems, but in an age of ammunition and equipment shortages, even such old items are better than nothing. Additionally, smaller items like grenades for AGS-17 grenade launchers produced in 2023 by the Serbian company Sloboda have also appeared in Ukraine.

However, the deliveries of much more modern 122 mm calibre G-2000 rockets from the EDePro company are more interesting. These are rockets for the BM-21 Grad launchers, which have only appeared at arms fairs in recent years.

They offer, in contrast to the standard rockets from the Grad, a doubling of the range from 19.2 km to 40.5 km, according to the manufacturer. Moreover, the Serbs boasted a smaller salvo dispersion, which amounted to 0.96 percent circular error probable (CEP) at the maximum distance, but the rest of the rocket remained practically unchanged. It is still an unguided solution with a warhead weighing 18-19 kg, providing a blast area of several dozen metres.

Serbian rockets are produced in a cluster variant containing bomblets or PTM-3 mines. These enable the attack on area targets or the mining of a specific area.

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