The government in Pristina and its supporters in Brussels and Washington should stop their provocations and respect the rights of ethnic Serbs in Kosovo, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova commented on recent developments in Kosovo.
Tensions in the predominantly Serb-inhabited north of Kosovo escalated after Kosovar authorities announced that they would issue temporary documents to travelers arriving from Serbia and replace Serbian license plates with Kosovar ones from August. As a result, militant Serbs erected barricades. Unknown persons also fired shots in the direction of Kosovan police officers, but nobody was injured, the police in Pristina said late on Sunday evening. On Monday night, the Kosovo authorities decided to postpone the new regulation until September 1st.
The authorities’ decision to apply discriminatory “rules” about forced replacement of Serbs’ personal documents is a further step in the expulsion of Serbs from Kosovo, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said. Prime Minister Albin Kurti intentionally escalated to start an armed action. Not only against the Serbs in Kosovo, but also against Belgrade, which the West wants to “neutralize through Kosovar Albanian hands,” Zakharova added.
According to her, the developments in Kosovo are proof of the failure of the European Union’s mediation mission:
“This is also an example of the place prepared for Belgrade in the European Union, de facto offering Belgrade to put up with the lawlessness of its compatriots.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that Russia fully supports Belgrade in this conflict. The rights of Serbs in Kosovo must be respected. It is now important to remain prudent.
Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić stressed that his country had “never been in such a difficult situation as it is today”. The authorities in Pristina tried to take advantage of the world situation to initiate a conflict while portraying themselves as victims, he explained.
Kosovo was occupied by NATO in 1999 after a 78-day air war against Yugoslavia. The Albanian government in Pristina declared its independence in 2008, but this was not recognized by Serbia, Russia, China or the UN.
more on the subject – Alarm in northern Kosovo: exchange of fire, people build barricades