Arms race in Balkans, Montenegro boosts military budget

 Montenegro is gradually increasing its budget for military needs and is sending troops to missions abroad. Since joining NATO, Montenegro has signed two major arms purchase contracts.

During a recent visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Podgorica, an agreement was signed with Montenegro on the purchase of 67 US armored vehicles worth of about $ 36 million. This is the first purchase of such vehicles for the needs of the Montenegrin Army in the last 40 years. It is about vehicles known as "Hummer" by the famous American company Oshkosh L-ATV. The first contingent comes next year and Montenegro will be the first European country to have such vehicles available. Vehicles are purchased on credit.

“These vehicles represent a major breakthrough in the modernization of the Montenegrin Army. Our infantry forces will reach the necessary preparatory level for training, movement, defense with these vehicles ... These preparations are in harmony with the preparation of other NATO forces," The Ministry of Defense officials told Deutsche Welle.

This is Montenegro's second major message since its entry into NATO. Montenegro bought three helicopters from Canada last year for $ 30 million. Such purchases have previously been unthinkable for Montenegro. The public has previously said that the Montenegrin Army is small and without good equipment. Authorities say that with the latest preparations, the Montenegrin army will be able to reach the required level of support for field units, air support and necessary evacuation in case of need, but also for emergency assistance.

Arms race in the Balkans

Since Montenegro's entry into NATO, the country has allocated 20m euros last year for its defense budget, while next year will allocate another 46m. But even more than that. The Defense Ministry says they have received numerous donations from the US in the field of communications and medicine in the past two years. Germany has given Montenegro six patrol armored vehicles, such as the Mercedes Benz. The biggest donation will come later - a large-caliber radar, with which Montenegro can monitor its airspace. Currently, Montenegro's airspace is controlled by aircraft from NATO member countries: Italy and Greece. Montenegro expects this radar to be installed by 2021.

Americans not only sell weapons to their partners in the Balkans, they also donate. The Balkan Security Network's portal has released data showing that the US has allocated $ 110 million in aid to four Western Balkan countries. The money has been allocated to the armies of Croatia, Northern Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania.
Arms race in Balkans, Montenegro boosts military budget Arms race in Balkans, Montenegro boosts military budget Wednesday, November 13, 2019 Rating: 5
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