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Pristina’s policies may cause major conflict in Kosovo, Russian MFA warns

Maria Zakharova pointed out that the firm observance of international legal foundations was the key prerequisite for a settlement in Kosovo

MOSCOW, December 26. /TASS/. Defiance of international law on Kosovo only makes Pristina radicals bolder, which may be fraught with the start of a large-scale conflict in the Balkans, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a commentary on Monday.

"The latest aggravation that has broken out in that province convincingly demonstrates that any departure from the current regulatory framework for Kosovo merely makes Pristina radicals more challenging. A real, large-scale conflict may be quite near," she warned.

Zakharova recalled that for the past seventeen days Serbs were on guard at the barricades they erected in the north of the province in protest against the detention of a former local "police officer" ethnic Serb Dejan Pantic by the Kosovars.

"Such a legitimate form of peaceful, non-violent resistance to regular acts of intimidation and discrimination on ethnic grounds has enraged Kosovo’s Albanian ‘authorities’. Threats to dismantle the barricades by force using heavy equipment have been uttered. Lists of Serbs accused of ‘terrorism’ are circulated in the public domain. These lists mention the names of members of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s family," she said.

Zakharova pointed out that the firm observance of international legal foundations was the key prerequisite for a settlement in Kosovo. "Attempts to undermine or ignore the UN Security Council’s fundamental Resolution 1244 are unacceptable," she added.

NATO, EU stay silent

At the same time, Zakharova stressed that "NATO and EU contingents are unable or unwilling to influence the aggravation around Kosovo, while Brussels’ playing into the hands of the Kosovars breaks all bounds."

"The NATO and EU contingents deployed in the region are unable or reluctant to influence what is happening. <…> The US and the EU continue to talk down to the Serbs. Now and then they begin to issue arrogant instructions. A typical example of such lecturing is seen in the EU High Representative Josep Borrell’s categorical order the Serbs "immediately remove" the barricades. Brussels’ outright connivance with the Kosovars’ ambitions goes beyond all conceivable limits of cynicism," Zakharova said.

She pointed out that constant pressure by the EU and its leading member-countries on Kosovo’s Serbs "is in stark contrast to their deathly silence they prefer to keep whenever it comes to Pristina's default on its obligation to create a Community of Serb Municipalities in the province."

"The European Union deliberately ruins the relevant Brussels agreements of 2013, turns a blind eye on their years-long defiance by the Kosovars, who continue to enjoy various favors, such as liberalization of visa rules or the benevolent consent to consider the application of the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo for EU membership," the commentary reads.