MOSCOW, May 30. /TASS/. The NATO-led international security force in Kosovo known as KFOR has turned into a source of unwarranted violence and escalation in the region, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement on Tuesday.
The statement followed an outbreak of violence against Serbs in Kosovo.
"The crisis situation in the municipalities of Zvecan, Zubin Potok, and Leposavic, which could have been resolved through a calm compromise, was a tough nut to crack for the NATO ‘peacekeepers’ in Kosovo. They not only showed their unprofessionalism, but also became a source of unnecessary violence and a factor of escalation," the statement said.
"Those who are supposed to protect the local Serbian majority from the arbitrariness of the Kosovars ended up siding with the xenophobic aspirations of Pristina and have essentially become accomplices of terror - taking up the role of personal security of the self-appointed government of Kosovo’s Albanians who have holed up in administrative buildings," the diplomat said.
Russia is calling on the West to silence "false propaganda" and stop blaming "desperate Serbs who peacefully, without weapons, try to defend their legitimate rights and freedoms" for incidents in Kosovo.
"This is a case when intermediaries from the US and the EU should work up the courage to look in the mirror," said Zakharova.
According to the spokeswoman, the region needs decisive steps to de-escalate the situation, not half-measures like the Americans’ idea to move the newly elected "mayors" from municipal buildings to other premises.
"The number one task is still the establishment of a community of Serbian municipalities in the region in its original form, which was enshrined 10 years ago in written agreements between Belgrade and Pristina under the guarantee of Brussels. This is a key condition for dialogue, and is the only chance to ensure stability and security in the region," the statement said.
Situation in Kosovo
The situation in the Serbian municipalities in northern Kosovo and Metohija escalated on May 26 after the Kosovo police seized administrative buildings in the municipalities of Zvecan, Zubin Potok, and Leposavic. The police sought to make it possible for the new mayors of these municipalities to assume office after they won the elections that were boycotted by the Serb population.
On May 29, NATO-led international security forces sealed off the administrative buildings where protesters had gathered, and clashes ensued. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said 52 Serbs sought help in a Kosovska Mitrovica hospital. Three of them had serious injuries, he said.