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Moscow condemns murder of Serbian politician in Kosovo

The Russian Foreign Ministry has called for a thorough probe

MOSCOW, January 16. /TASS/. Russia resolutely condemns the murder of Serbian politician Oliver Ivanovic in Kosovo and hopes it will be thoroughly probed into, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

"We resolutely condemn this cowardly act. Attempts to settle political scores using such methods is fraught with exacerbation of atmosphere of terror and recurrence of the interethnic conflict in the region," the ministry said. "We call on all international missions in Kosovo to use their mandates to take exhaustive measures to prevent possible incidents in the region."

"We hope that corresponding structures will conduct a thorough investigation of what has happened to expose those responsible and duly punish them," the ministry stressed.

Oliver Ivanovic, 64, the leader of the Kosovo Serb party Freedom, Democracy, Justice, was shot dead on Tuesday when he was entering his party’s headquarters in Kosovska Mitrovica. His fellow party member said no one had heard any sounds of shooting and the wounded politician had been found by a neighbor who was returning from a shop. Police later found a burnt car without an identification number, which the killers had allegedly used.

The politician was taken to a hospital with five gunshot wounds to his chest. The doctors tried to save his life, but to no avail.

Ivanovic earlier served as the State Secretary of the Ministry for Kosovo and Metohija in the Serb government. In January 2016, he was sentenced to nine years in jail for alleged war crimes against Albanians in 1999. In February 2017, the first-instance court’s verdict was overturned and a new trial began. Ivanovic was under house arrest and in April 2017 he was allowed to defend himself in court at liberty.