The Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic threatened this week to send troops into neighboring Kosovo to protect Serbs living in the northern part of the breakaway territory; Kosovo is officially recognized by the developing world after the Balkan wars of the 1990s where ethnic Kosovars were subjected to genocide by Serbian forces. NATO went to war against Serbia to stop the killiing.
Speaking with the Russian state-controlled news outlet Izvestia, Dacic also hinted at possible military assistance from the Russian Federation in any such operation.
According to Dacic, “the Albanian side in Kosovo is reluctant to make agreements and continues whipping up incidents in order to hinder efforts aimed at reaching a compromise.” “Their goal is to intimidate the Serbs and make them leave northern Kosovo. In this situation, we continue to remind the international community that KFOR must protect the Serbs,” Dacic pointed out. “If the international community fails to respond in accordance with the United Nations’ resolution, if the Serbs have to face violence, if these attacks on them continue, then Belgrade will have to react and Serbia is ready for that. However, I hope that there will be no need to do it,” the Serbian top diplomat added. “We are grateful to Russia for its support, particularly, political support in relation to the issue of Kosovo and Metohija. At the same time, I certainly hope that we won’t have to ask for assistance,” Dacic said, reported Russian state news agency TASS.
If the Serbian Armed Forces try to cross Kosovo’s administrative border, they will face an immediate intervention on the part of NATO and the United States, Senior Researcher with the Institute for Slavic Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences Pyotr Iskenderov said, pointing out that Kosovo’s Uroshevac hosted one of the largest US military bases in Europe. “None of the parties involved in efforts to resolve the Kosovo issue wants the conflict to escalate. In order to prevent tensions from rising, Russia, the US and the European Union need to help hammer out a specific formula that will make it possible for Belgrade to interact with Pristina without recognizing Kosovo’s independence. For instance, Serbia could refrain from a full recognition, giving its permission for Kosovo’s accession to the United Nations and other international organizations,” the expert noted, added TASS.
Russian anger still boils over the NATO action against a close ally during a time where Russia’s armed forces were weak and could not respond during the Clinton presidency. Serbia is an Orthodox Christian state where Kosovo and Albania are Muslim, although much of the population of the two states are secular. Turkey has been working to re-Islamize the region.
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