Speed Reads


Serbia is preparing its first military parade in 30 years — to honor Putin

When Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in Belgrade, Serbia on Thursday, he'll be met with a hero's welcome.

The occasion will mark the country's first military parade in 30 years, The Associated Press reports. Putin's visit will coincide with Belgrade's 70th anniversary of its freedom from Nazi German occupation. The visit will be Putin's second trip to Serbia in three years.

Not everyone is happy about the arrangement, though: AP notes that some Western officials think the parade "doesn't help Serbia in its proclaimed goal to be part of Western alliances," since Putin has been accused of adding fire to the war in eastern Ukraine. Analysts expect Putin will urge Serbia to build a gas pipeline that's controlled by Moscow.

In 2011, Putin said that he had "nothing against" Serbia joining the European Union, but he spoke out against Serbia joining NATO. However, AP adds that if Serbia does join the EU, Kremlin officials have stated that its "lucrative free trade agreement with Russia would no longer be valid."