Pakistan & Gulf Economist

Tension in Kosovo may lead to renewed bloodshed: Russian envoy

Tension in Kosovo may lead to renewed bloodshed: Russian envoy

Published in The Nation, on June 5th, 2023, Anadolu

The recent tension in Kosovo is dangerous and it could lead to renewed bloodshed, Russia’s ambassador to Serbia warned Saturday.

“This situation is dangerous, because there could be an outbreak of an even bigger conflict, and renewed bloodshed in northern Kosovo, and that could lead to the spread of tensions to the entire Balkans, or at least to one part of the Balkan region,” Aleksandar Bocan-Kharchenko told Russian state outlet RT Balkan.

He added that the European Union and the West as a whole always take a one-sided approach to solving problems.

Russia has a traditional kinship with the region’s ethnic Serbs and Serbia – which borders Kosovo – as both are Slavic peoples following the Eastern Orthodox faith. Russia does not recognize the 2008 independence of Kosovo from Serbia, though most UN member states do, including the US, UK, France, Germany, and Türkiye.

The recent tension comes in the aftermath of local elections that saw ethnic Albanian mayors elected in areas of northern Kosovo where Serbs – the country’s second-largest ethnic group – are in the majority.

Ethnic Serbs in the country’s north have been protesting the election of ethnic Albanian mayors since late May.

Last Monday, at least 30 soldiers of the NATO-led international peacekeeping mission in Kosovo (KFOR) were injured in clashes with Serbs trying to block an ethnic Albanian mayor from entering the town hall to take his oath of office and start his duties.

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