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Creation of Kosovo’s army is provocation fueling tensions in Balkans, says Putin

The Russian leader called Kosovo's decision to create "irresponsible steps"

BELGRADE, January 17. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia finds the Kosovo authorities’ decision to create their own army regrettable and sees it as another risk of destabilization of the situation in the Balkans.

"Regrettably, Kosovo’s authorities took a series of provocative steps lately, thus greatly aggravating the situation. In the first place I have in mind their decision of December 14 to form a so-called army in Kosovo," Putin told a news conference following talks with Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic. "It goes without saying that this is a direct violation of the UN resolution, which does not allow for the creation of any paramilitary forces except for the international UN contingent."

"Such irresponsible steps by Kosovo’s authorities may cause destabilization in the Balkans," he warned.

Moscow and Belgrade are interested in a stable and safe situation in the Balkans, Putin said. He recalled that Moscow would like to see Belgrade and Pristina achieve a "viable and mutually acceptable solution for Kosovo on the basis of the UN Security Council’s resolution 1244."

Putin said that the talks with Vucic were successful. He thanked the Serbian leader and the delegation’s members for meaningful and productive talks. He expressed gratitude to the residents of Belgrade and the people of Serbia for the warm and hospitable reception all members of the Russian delegation were able to feel. He voiced the certainly that the achieved agreements would promote stronger Russian-Serbian friendship.