NIS – Russian officials inaugurated a “humanitarian centre” on Monday in the Serbian city of Nis, situated 100 km from the Kosovo border, but denied suggestions that Moscow was in fact setting up a military base, according to EurActiv. Speaking at the ceremony in Nis, Serbian First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Ivica Dacic and Minister for Emergency Situations of the Russian Federation Sergei Shoigu pointed out that the opening of the “Regional humanitarian centre” would contribute to more efficient emergency response, not only in the Balkans but also throughout Europe.
When asked by a journalist whether the facility was in fact a military base, Dacic rejected the allegation. “Nobody has the right to give us lessons about whom we will cooperate, this is an independent country,” said Dacic.
Shoigu also said that allegations his country was setting up a military base in Serbia were “pure fabrication”. Agencies suggested that the Russian facility in Nis could be designed to spy on a US base in Romania which will be part of the US missile shield. However, this base, located at Deveselu near the Danube, is at some 200 km air distance from Nis. On the other hand, the new facility is much closer to the former Serbian province of Kosovo, where inter-community tensions are persistent.