The public was presented the new MiG-29 aircraft and modern equipment of soldiers according to the concept 1500, and within the static display the products of the Serbian Defence Industry were presented. In the flight part of the show, along with the aviation of the Serbian Armed Forces, the Russian acrobatic team Strizhi also appeared.
On that occasion, President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, pointed out that today is a great day, the day when Belgrade was liberated in 1944, exactly three years after the Nazis' occupiers shot thousands of people in Belgrade, Kraljevo, Šumadija and, finally, in Kragujevac.
– Liberating the Serbian capital, we were liberated from that death, from that horror on 20th October. And we are liberated, I hope for good, from that kind of madness that considered it justifiable to kill and shoot in the name of a race, a nation and those ideologies that some people considered less valuable than others, and that much less that they did not deserve to live, President of the Republic said, noting that it is quite possible that there are still those who consider us less valuable and who think that the same rules do not apply to both us and them.
On this day, President Vučić pointed out, we recall that on 20th October 1944, we were liberated from that philosophy forever and that we would never again agree to it "because our life, the life of people in Serbia, Serbia which we love more than anything, is priceless, extremely valuable, and that we will be strong enough, capable and equipped not to allow anyone to underrate it, and even less to take it."
– Serbia, Belgrade, every other city in our country needs stability, development and growth, and we know very well that peace is the basic condition for all of this and we will do everything to have it in this region, if not eternal, then at least long enough to have generations be born and die not remembering war, who will think well of themselves and who will not think bad about others, the president said, saying that we must be strong, healthy and developed to be respected and for our word to be heard.
He pointed out that precisely because of that, 20th October is celebrated in Batajnica, "with the military, arms and weapons of our sovereignty, our independence and our peace, our European perspective and friendship with the Russians and Chinese and our military neutrality, and above all we are showing people, arms and weapons of our Serbian freedom".
– New planes, new material, tanks, artillery weapons, new equipment for our soldiers are not a threat to anyone, but merely serve as another proof of how much we value our lives and that we will certainly be able to protect it, said the president, pointing out that today, in front of the soldiers that every country would be proud of, it can be said right away that nobody can attack Serbia unpunished and that we will defend the life of every human being in Serbia.
He pointed out that there are no other intentions except for road construction, opening factories and job creation, to create surpluses that will enable us to better protect our lives, reminding that Serbia has lost enough people through history. He stressed that today we wish to have a modern state, strong and developed, which will be a guarantor of peace and stability to others, a reliable partner and a true friend.
– We are striving to reach a historic agreement, a long-lasting one, with the Albanians, we wish a neighborhood life and friendship with the Bosniaks, better connection with Montenegro and good relations with Croatia, the president said, reminding everyone that it must be clear that Serbia is not scared of negotiations, but it does not negotiate because it is afraid.
He proudly pointed out that our military is becoming better equipped, stronger and more educated from day to day and that the military personnel will be better paid, noting that we are free, independent and sovereign country, a country that wants to deal with itself, to advance, to learn, to work, grow and develop.
– Officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the Serbian Armed Forces, thank you for enduring numerous humiliations over the past two decades. Thank you for the army and the land you are protecting. Thank you for being patient, waiting for better times for yourself and the army you love so much, and I am telling you today that these better times have finally arrived and that you will be living better year after year and that your children will have a better future, President Vučić said recalling that Serbia will be open to anyone who comes as a friend.
He stressed that Serbia will protect its freedom and will not be ashamed of all of our wars and freedom that it has liberated, because it did it with its own blood and not with blood of others. That is why, he said, we will celebrate the day when Belgrade became free and we will celebrate it with our Russian friends "with those who liberated Belgrade together with other Soviet nations, with Serbian and other Yugoslav nations and died for freedom."
– I wish to thank both President Putin and Minister Shoigu for the weapons they gave and handed over, and which we will get here today to operate them forever. Let us say thank you for appreciating our life and not thinking that the life of the people in Serbia is less valuable. Thank you, our European friends, for the support you give us in the development of our country. But I wish to thank those who are most deserving that we breathe free air today. Eternal glory to the liberators of Belgrade. Thanks to the fighters of the People's Liberation Army who liberated our Belgrade. Thanks to the Red Army soldiers who participated with our fighters in the liberation of Belgrade. Long live free Serbia! Long live Serbia! Long live the Serbian Armed Forces! – President Vučić said at the end.
Following the completion of the demonstration, President Vučić and Minister Shoigu carried out the ceremonial handover of new MiG-29 aircraft, a donation from the Russian Federation, which were presented to the public for the first time today. President Vučić handed over to the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation, symbolically, a parade dagger with the serial numbers of these aircraft.
– Thank you very much once again for these wonderful gifts and support and I hope that we will increase our cooperation in the future. Thank brotherly and friendly people of Russia and thank President Putin and thank you personally – President Vučić said.
The first sequences of operational capabilities, led by Brigadier General Duško Žarković, were dedicated to resolving the situation of aircraft hijacking on a regular international line, engaging the airborne alert and presenting the emergency ejection of the pilot whose aircraft was damaged during the action.
Those present had opportunity to see the action of the search and rescue team, which included a Mi-17 transport helicopter that located a pilot, while two Gama helicopters provided close air support.
Concurrently, part of the forces for counterterrorism activities carried out the action of neutralising terrorists, retrieving hostages and implementation of counter-diversion protection measures. The second group of terrorists, which occupied part of the airfirld infrastructure, was engaged by members of the Military Police units, and in order to secure the area of the counter-terrorist operation, thirty paratroopers carried out a special parachute descent from the An-26 aircraft.
Those gathered at Batajnica Airfield, more than 20 thousand of them, had the opportunity to see in today's demonstration the implementation of the quick descent technique with the fastrope, when the teams descended from two Mi-8 transport helicopters with concurrent approach of two Gazelle helicopters from which one member of the anti-terrorist team made fire support from the air. Within the demonstration, during the neutralisation of terrorists, several members of the anti-terrorist teams as well as terrorists were wounded, which prompted demonstration of emergency air medical evacuation with a Mi-17 helicopter with a search and rescue team with the support of special teams.
Following the demonstration of capabilities of the Serbian Armed Forces units on the "ground", the sky above the Batajnica Airfield was also cut by aircrafts within the composition of the Air Force and Air Defence such as MiG-29s, Orao (Eagle) assault aircraft, Supergaleb G-4 trainer-combat aircraft, as well as Lasta-95 domestic made aircraft, followed by raids with Gazelle and Gama helicopters and Mi-17 and Mi-8 transport helicopters.
In the ending of the flying part of today's demonstration, guests from the Russian Federation, members of the acrobatic group "Strizhi", who fly on MiG-29 fighter aircraft, have performed a unique programme of group and solo acrobatic maneuvers, among which they have flown in different orders such as “pyramid”, "hammer", "arrow", "cross" and "wing".
The spectators at Batajnica Airfield could see a demonstration jump of members of the 63rd Paratroopers Battalion of the Special Brigade, in one raid, from a height of 2000 meters, which flew with the flags of the Republic of Serbia, the Serbian Armed Forces, the Special Brigade and the City of Belgrade.
Within the framework of the demonstration "Freedom 2017", the infantry echelon of rapid reaction forces of the Serbian Armed Forces equipped according to the "1500" project, consisting of members of the reconnaissance companies of the Army brigades, the 63rd Paratroopers Battalion, the Counter-Terrorist Battalion, part of the members of the Military Police and 72nd Reconnaissance and Commando Battalion of the Special Brigade, that was joined by the motorised echelon of the Serbian Armed Forces at the apron of the Batajnica Airfield.
Addressing the gathered journalists after the demonstration of a part of the capabilities of the Serbian Armed Forces and the handover of new MiG-29 planes, the Serbian President stressed that by March, new Belgian-made Scar weapons and Minimi machine guns will arrive to the Serbian Armed Forces, with which the first group of 1500 soldiers will be fully equipped with all optoelectronic devices and the necessary means to counter the first strikes and perform the most difficult tasks.
Vučić thanked our friends from Russia for "these wonderful gifts".
– Thank them also for their support in military-technical cooperation. I wish to thank our European friends who sent today the highest level delegation to participate in this important parade for the liberation of Belgrade, because the most important message today for all people is that freedom is the highest value of our Serbian society, we will be able to defend it, to protect it and that it does not depend only on our hearts and desires, but also on the opportunities that are much greater than before. All these pilots, all these wonderful young people said – we waited for a long time, finally we got it. They said that to me and Minister Shoigu, and I would not like to remind today that many people said that the planes would never arrive and that it would be scrap metal. Today everyone could see who was telling the truth and who was not. This is another in a series of things that we have done, which we promised the people, Vučić said.
He emphasized that it is even more important for soldiers to provide peace and security for all citizens, but also to provide a better life for themselves and their families.
– It is therefore important that we are going to increase salaries by 10 percent. This will happen next year, I hope to the same or even greater extent, and I believe that the army will again become attractive to people like it used to be in the former Yugoslavia. I wish to congratulate all the citizens of Belgrade the holiday of the Liberation Day, us to be proud of the accomplishments of both the People's Liberation Army and the Red Army, to be proud of our ancestors fallen for freedom and to say that we know well how much blood have we lost for freedom, and that we know to respect it and that we will always be able as a nation to protect and defend it, the Serbian president said.
Today's demonstration at the Batajnica Airfield was attended by Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, President of the Republic of Srpska Milorad Dodik, National Assembly Speaker Maja Gojković, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin, Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces General Ljubiša Diković, Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation Sergei Shoigu, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Macedonia Radmila Sekerinska, CSTO General Secretary General Yury Grigorievich Khachaturov, Chairman of the European Union Military Committee General Mikhail Kostarakos, ministers in the Government of the Republic of Serbia, representatives of the legislative, executive and judicial power, representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in our country, high-level delegations of the countries participants in the liberation of Belgrade, foreign guests, representatives of religious communities, veterans, heroes of the battles for the liberation of Belgrade, as well as numerous citizens.