MILAN — The U.S. government approved a potential sale of hundreds of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Kosovo for an estimated cost of $75 million, a move that is likely to leave a bitter taste for Serbia.

The Republic of Kosovo has requested to buy 246 Javelin missiles and 24 lightweight command launch units, among other items, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement released on Jan 11.

If the sale of the Lockheed Martin- and Raytheon-made weapons goes ahead, it would make Kosovo the third Javelin customer in the region. In 2022, Albania’s defense minister said the country had purchased Javelins, and last month Romania received approval to purchase 263 missiles for $80 million.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, a Russia ally who was recently re-elected for another term amid election fraud complaints by the opposition, was quoted by ABC News as having expressed “deep disappointment” regarding the news of Kosovo’s procurement request.

It was previously reported that Belgrade was interested in buying SPIKE LR2 anti-tank guided missiles from Israeli defense manufacturer Rafael.

The Javelin announcement comes at a time of heightened tensions between Kosovo and Serbia. In an outbreak of violence in a Kosovan village last fall, a number of ethnic Serbs killed a Kosovar police officer during a firefight, which ultimately resulted in police killing three of the ethnic Serbs while retaking the site.

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti later claimed that the ethnic Serb paramilitary force trained in Serbia ahead of the September raid on what appeared to be a U.S.-made military Humvee vehicle produced by AM General.

The accusation, which was immediately denied by Belgrade, would entail a violation by the Serbian authorities of a contract struck with Washington on the end-use of American military equipment.

At the time, a U.S. State Department spokesperson told Defense News that the government was “looking into this matter.”

Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. She covers a wide range of topics related to military procurement and international security, and specializes in reporting on the aviation sector. She is based in Milan, Italy.

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