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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova's comment on the escalation of anti-Serb violence in Kosovo

30 May 2023 12:56

The rapid growth of tension in the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija continues. The unrest that broke out recently in the Serb-populated northern regions of the province has reached a critically dangerous line.

The crisis in the municipalities of Zvecan, Zubin Potok and Leposaviс, which was quite suited to a calm compromise solution, turned out to be too tough for the "peacekeepers" of the NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR). They not only demonstrated their lack of professionalism, but also became a source of unnecessary violence and a factor in raising tensions. As a result, those who are required to protect the local Serb majority from the abuses of the Kosovars took the side of the xenophobic aspirations of Pristina and became actual accomplices in terror, as the personal guards of Kosovo Albanian impostors who declared themselves the authorities and settled in administrative buildings. As a result, dozens more people were hospitalised, some in grave condition.

The West's selective attitude towards the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1244, of which only the military presence in the province is taken seriously, has resulted in a deep misunderstanding within NATO of KFOR's functions. It is the opposite of the declared status-neutrality approach, which has long turned into a fiction. In fact, the NATO contingent has never really protected the Serbs of the province, but instead served the flawed status quo with rampant Kosovo Albanian extremism and anti-Serb ethnic cleansing. It is impossible to talk about any trust or, even less, loyalty of the Serbs in such conditions.

The Western five, which is now exaggeratedly indignant over the lack of restraint by its wards in Pristina and is frantically trying to call them to order, should have calculated the consequences of seating Albanian "mayors" who did not represent anyone in four northern communities. However, it is still not too late to reverse the history of the fake municipal elections held on April 23, if the Westerners really care about peace and stability. And it is not difficult to influence Prime Minister Albin Kurti and his entourage: the sanction lever so beloved by the US and the EU would be sufficient, only this time it would be justified. And they could refrain from provoking Belgrade, which was forced to put its army on full combat readiness and send it to the administrative line with Kosovo, at the risk of being accused of "escalating" again.

We are calling the West to finally silence its false propaganda, to stop blaming the incidents in Kosovo on the desperate Serbs who are peacefully, without weapons in their hands, trying to defend their legitimate rights and freedoms. This is the case when in the search for the guilty, mediators from the US and the EU should muster the courage to look in the mirror.

Decisive steps are needed to de-escalate, instead of half-measures like the American idea of temporarily moving the newly appointed mayors from municipal buildings and "resettling" them in other facilities. The establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities in the province in its original form, as envisaged in written agreements between Belgrade and Pristina under the guarantees of Brussels ten years ago, is still the number one task. This is a key condition for a dialogue, which is the only chance to ensure stability and security in the region.

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