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Moscow says France’s decision to release leader of Kosovo militants politicized

April 27, 21:34 UTC+3

"All Kosovo politicians involved in military crimes must receive the punishment they deserve notwithstanding the posts they currently occupy," the Russian Foreign Ministry said

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MOSCOW, April 27. /TASS/. Moscow shares Belgrade’s concern over a French court’s decision to release Ramush Haradinaj, leader of Kosovo militants, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday in a telephone conversation with Serbian Prime Minister Alexander Vucic.

"Lavrov said that Russia shares Serbia’s concern over the politicized decision made by a French court that had turned down Serbia’s request for the extradition of Haradinaj and ruled that he should be released," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"All Kosovo politicians involved in military crimes must receive the punishment they deserve notwithstanding the posts they currently occupy," the statement adds.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also said that "Paris has employed double standards, which shows a policy of connivance in the face of Kosovo’s course aimed at implementing the ‘Greater Albania’ project that may destroy fragile stability and revive the bloody conflict in the Balkans."

Apart from the Haradinaj issue, Lavrov and Vucic discussed bilateral cooperation and confirmed determination to strengthen strategic partnership between Moscow and Belgrade.

Earlier on Thursday, an appeals court in the French city of Colmar rejected Serbia’s request for the extradition of Haradinaj who was arrested in France at Belgrade’s request on January 4.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) suspected Haradinaj, a former Kosovo prime minister who was a militant commander during the 1998-99 war, of carrying out tortures and violating the laws of war, demanding that he be sentenced to 20 years in prison. However, Haradinaj was acquitted twice, though judges said that court hearings had been held in an atmosphere of witness intimidation.

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