MOSCOW, November 7. /TASS/. Russia is worried over the escalation around Kosovo as the West is pushing the situation toward an open conflict and is doing nothing to stop provocations of Kosovar radicals, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Monday.
"We are alarmed over the aggravation of the situation around Kosovo, where the so-called Pristina authorities are again deliberately whipping up tension under the passive eye or even with direct support from their sponsors in Washington and its European allies. By taking no effective steps to put an end to the provocations by Kosovar Albanian radicals, the West is deliberately pushing the situation to an open conflict," she said.
She noted that the current escalation is unfolding in a situation when the European Union, which was authorized by the UN General Assembly to mediate the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, "is actually either unwilling or incapable to resolve the issue." Belgrade, on the contrary, "is demonstrating a constructive approach and is calling for settling emerging problems through dialogue and implementing the existing agreements," she stressed.
"A peaceful meeting in Kosovska-Mitrovica on November 6 confirmed popular support for this policy of the Serbian government. And we consider the forced withdrawal of Kosovo Serbs from the local government structures, including the police, a manifestation of their unwillingness to be accomplices in the criminal policy of the Kosovo Albanian ‘authorities’ toward Kosovo’s Serb population, who are being ousted from their homeland by means of ethnic purges," she said.
"We insist on the absolute priority of the Kosovars’ implementation of their commitments fixed with the European Union’s participation, first of all, in what concerns the establishment of a Community of Serb Municipalities enjoying full-fledged executive authority as a tool for defending the rights and freedoms of local Serbs, but as a matter of fact, ensuring their physical survival," Zakharova stressed. "We see no alternative to a viable mutually acceptable solution between Belgrade and Pristina on the basis of the UN Security Council resolution 1244, which will be in full compliance with international law and will be approved by the UN Security Council."
Situation around Kosovo
Earlier, Kosovo authorities decided to fine those who did not change their Serbian license plates, issuing warnings starting Nov. 1. Fines will amount to 150 euros, and citizens will be instructed to replace Serbian plates with the registration plates of the unrecognized Kosovo. After April 21, 2023, when the transition period is over, the Kosovo police will be authorized to seize cars with Serbian plates.
In response, Kosovo and Metohija Serbs quitted all government institutions of unrecognized Kosovo. Kosovo Serb leader Goran Rakic resigned from the Kosovo government, along with Serb lawmakers, judges and municipality heads. Later, the Serb police officers took off Kosovo uniforms and shoulder straps right at a meeting.
Serbia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Milos Vucevic said he did not rule out that the situation in Kosovo and Metohija may further escalate.