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Russian diplomat slams US official’s claims against Serbian Orthodox Church

The Russian ambassador to Serbia said that statements by retired American general Wesley Clark that the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Metohija stored weapons on the territory of its monasteries are a pretext for “barbaric persecution”, as happened in Ukraine

BELGRADE, October 4. /TASS/. US General (Ret.) Wesley Clark's claims that the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Metohija was storing weapons on the territory of its monasteries, are a pretext for "barbaric persecution" as was the case in Ukraine, Russia’s ambassador to Serbia said.

"Retired US General Clark’s malicious attempts to baselessly accuse the Serbian Orthodox Church of storing weapons on the territory of its monasteries in the region of Kosovo and Metohija are deeply concerning," Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko wrote on the X social network, formerly known as Twitter.

"The Westerners use the same cynical scheme with regard to the canonic Ukrainian Orthodox Church: false information is being presented as ‘confidential intelligence data’ and used as a pretext for barbaric persecution of priests and parishioners," the Russian diplomat added.

Earlier, Clark, who served as the Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO from 1997 to 2000, claimed that the weapons, used during the latest incident in the north of Kosovo and Metohija that left three Serbs and one Kosovo police officer dead, were stored in a monastery in the village of Banjska. In this regard, the Eparchy of Raska and Prizren of the Serbian Orthodox Church strongly condemned the remarks.

The prime minister of the unrecognized state of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, said earlier that armed men in masks, supported by Serbian officials, attacked police officers in the north of the province overnight into September 24, killing one of them. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic later said in an address to the nation that Kosovo police units had killed three Serbs and that the NATO-led Kosovo Force had effectively given Kurti carte blanche to kill Serbs in the north of the province. He said KFOR members assisted Kosovo police in the operation against local Serbs. Vucic said that after what happened, Belgrade would never recognize the province's independence.