Kremlin: Kosovo army is a serious security threat to Balkans

The plans to create a Kosovo army, supported by the leading NATO states, seriously endanger the security of the Balkan region, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on January 17 during a press conference on the results of Russian diplomatic activity in 2019.

The Russian Foreign Ministry believes that these plans are a gross violation of UN Security Council resolution 1244, which demands the demilitarization of any armed groups of Kosovan Albanians.

“Many times we have drawn and will continue to draw our western partners’ attention to the non-transparency of the activity of the Bondsteel military base, which at the time was deployed as part of peacekeeping activity to implement UN Security Council resolution 1244, but at present it has formally and effectively turned into an American facility,” the ministry stated.

The Russian foreign policy department also remarked that the EU-led dialog on the future of Kosovo and Metohija has not been functioning for a long time, and that the EU’s mediation potential has declined significantly.

“For a long time already, Brussels has not been in a position to influence the Kosovars, to force them to demonstrate a reasonable, constructive approach to negotiations with Serbia. This is evident, for example, in the active 100% anti-Serbian discriminatory tariffs imposed by the Kosovan authorities in November 2018. Furthermore, since April 2013, Prishtina has been sabotaging the implementation on the commitments it took on through EU mediation to create a full-fledged Community of Serb Municipalities of Kosovo, vested with significant executive powers to protect the interests of Kosovan Serbs,” the Russian diplomatic department remarked.

The statement also emphasizes that there is ongoing “post-election chaos and fighting for power” in the region, and thus there is no “negotiation-capable entity” which could renew dialog with Belgrade. “In light of the radical views of the nationalists who won the October elections, the negotiation climate is unlikely to improve,” the Russian Foreign Ministry observed.

The department also pointed out that Russia’s position on the Kosovo conflict is well-known – Moscow advocates a “viable and mutually acceptable solution on the basis of UN Security Council 1244, which must correspond to international law and be approved by the UN Security Council, since it is a case of ensuring international peace and security”.

The diplomats also noted that Russia will only agree to a solution which the Serbs themselves are happy with.

In December 2018, at an extraordinary session of the UN Security Council which was convened at Russia and Serbia’s request after Prishtina passed a package of laws to transform the Kosovan Security Forces into full-fledged “Armed Forces”, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya called for the decision to be revoked immediately. According to the Russian diplomat, the emergence of Kosovan Armed Forces would constitute “a threat to peace and security in a region which is at risk of the armed conflict repeating itself”.

  Russia, Kosovo