WARSAW, Poland — Serbia’s acting assistant defense minister has announced the ministry is negotiating with a number of Chinese drone manufacturers to acquire UAVs for the Serbian military.

Nenad Miloradovic said Serbia aims to buy Chinese drones for its armed forces as well as the technology that will allow the country’s defense industry to produce UAVs in the long term.

"This package deal, under which we plan to purchase, but also produce reconnaissance drones for the Serbian military, should be implemented shortly," Miloradovic said, as reported by local daily Blic.

The official said that Serbia is positioning itself as a military-neutral country, and its government aims to procure weapons and military gear for the country’s armed forces from various suppliers.

"We don’t have ideological prejudices in what concerns buying weapons," Miloradovic said.

In a sign of strengthened military cooperation with Russia, Serbia’s government earlier this year approved the purchase of six Mil Mi-17 helicopters, complementing acquisitions of other aircraft and weapons from Moscow. In contrast, Serbia signed a deal in 2016 to buy nine H145M helicopters from Dutch-French company Airbus.

The value of the planned UAV deal was not disclosed by the Serbian official.

Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.

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