MOSCOW, September 22. /TASS/. Moscow regards the latest actions by Kosovo's police in the north of the territory as a provocation aimed at forcing Serbs out of the region, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in the wake of growing tensions in Kosovo.
"We find very worrisome the worsening situation in the northern areas of the Serbian Autonomous Province of Kosovo. Since September 20 Pristina's police, with the international missions connivance, have been creating hindrances to traffic across the administrative borer with the central part of Serbia on far-fetched pretexts and using force against civilians. In fact, this is an attempt by local Albanians to seize the Serbian enclaves of the province and put them under control. We regard these actions as provocations, further ethnic cleansing and attempts to force Serbs out of Kosovo," the statement runs.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Kosovo's Albanian authorities "must immediately pull out their police forces from the northern areas of the province, put an end to sabotage and address settlement tasks in earnest."
"The fanning of tensions is fraught with major problems capable of undermining stability in the Balkans. We expect that Pristina's US and European patrons will exert sobering influence on their minions at last, thus avoiding a destructive scenario fraught with a threat to the whole region," the Foreign Ministry said.
It stressed that the UN-mandated Kosovo Force (KFOR) and also the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo "once again are unable or reluctant to perform their function of maintaining peace and security in the territory."
"The latest surge of tensions was predictable, if one bears in mind the stagnation of the Kosovo settlement process. The European Union, which the UN General Assembly appointed to broker the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, has been taking no tangible moves to achieve shifts for the better, while the Kosovars' leaders blatantly refuse to comply with their obligations, including the key one regarding creation of a Community of Serb Municipalities," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Situation in Kosovo
On Monday morning, hundreds of Kosovar police, including snipers, established control of the Jarine and Brnjak crossings on the administrative border with central Serbia. Angry Serbs arrived by more than 400 cars to stage a peace protest. In the evening, the Kosovars fired tear gas. At the moment, protests by Serbs on the administrative border are continuing.
Serbia's Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija unilaterally proclaimed independence in February 2008. Lately, it has made vigorous attempts to join international organizations, such as UNESCO and Interpol. More than 60 countries are opposed to Kosovo's recognition, among them Russia, India and China and five European Union member-states.