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Escalation around Kosovo provoked from outside — Russian lawmaker

Leonid Slutsky lauded Serbia for taking a "wise and peaceful position"

MOSCOW, August 1. /TASS/. The current aggravation of the situation in Kosovo has been provoked from outside with NATO’s tacit support, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Monday.

"The current aggravation of the situation around Kosovo has been induced from outside. The Kosovars have dared deliberate escalation with the tacit support of NATO countries. Those NATO countries, which bombed Belgrade back in 1999, dismembered former Yugoslavia and opened a Pandora box having recognized Pristina’s self-declared independence," Leonid Slutsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) and chair of the international committee of the Russian State Duma (lower parliament house), wrote on his Telegram channel.

"The Kosovo authorities’ decision to postpone the enforcement of the ban on Serbian documents is not a solution to thee problem," he noted. "It is still a burning fuse in a powder keg. And the responsibility rests on those who continue to pull the strings, fanning the smoldering embers of the Balkan fire. Their goal is quite clear - to shift the focus of attention from their own global mistakes. And it is doubly immoral."

He lauded Serbia for taking a "wise and peaceful position." "We support Belgrade, we support our Serb brothers," he stressed.

The situation in Kosovo and Metohija deteriorated dramatically on Sunday evening after Kosovo’s police closed the checkpoint on the administrative line with Serbia, intending to impose a ban on Serbian documents as of Monday. In response, Serbs in the north of Kosovo took to the streets and blocked key highways. Sirens were heard in several cities in the north of the region. Police and the Kosovo Force (KFOR), a NATO-led international peacekeeping force in Kosovo, were pulled to the bridge across the Ibar River, which links Kosovska Mitrovica’s northern and southern parts.

As a result of international efforts, Pristina postponed the procedure of enforcing the ban on Serbian documents till 1 September.