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News > World

Russia Asks for Respect for Serbs Residing in Kosovo

  • Security forces at the Kosovo border, July 31, 2022.

    Security forces at the Kosovo border, July 31, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/ @AmirAlexanderR7

Published 1 August 2022

Strong tensions on the Kosovo-Serbia border emerged as a result of the attempt to ban Serb documents and license plates in Kosovo.

On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov requested respect for the rights of Serbs residing in Kosovo and asked the Kosovar authorities "to be reasonable" in handling tensions on the border between Serbia and its former province.


Serbia-Kosovo Tension; Russia Claims Provocation by the West

"We demand that all rights of Serbs be respected," he said, adding that Russia "without a doubt absolutely supports Serbia" and considers the Kosovar authorities' intention to ban Serb documents on its territory "absolutely unfounded."

"Now, thank God, an aggravation of the situation that happened overnight has been prevented. However, the situation is only postponed for a month, so it is important that all parties are reasonable," Peskov said, adding that "countries that recognized Kosovo and serve as guarantors must use all their influence to warn the Kosovar authorities against thoughtless steps that will lead to a further escalation of tensions."

Strong tensions arose between Kosovo and Serbia on Sunday night with border crossings and roads blocked. This happened within a few hours of the beginning of the implementation of the ban on Serb documents and license plates in Kosovo, a decision that the Serbs oppose.

In late July, Kosovo announced that it would ban the use of Serbian identity cards and license plates on its territory from August 1. This decision is similar to the one that generated a crisis in September 2021, which involved the two countries increasing their border security forces.

After the problems that arose at two border points, Kosovo decided to postpone until Sept. 1 the application of this ban. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) announced that its International Security Force for Kosovo (KFOR) is ready to intervene if stability in Kosovo is endangered.

"All necessary measures will be taken to maintain a secure environment in Kosovo at all times, in accordance with its United Nations mandate," KFOR said, referring to United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 1244.

In 2008, Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia, a decision that the United States and most of its allies recognize. Countries like Russia, China, India, Brazil or Spain, however, do not recognize Kosovo as a sovereign country. Since 2011, Kosovo and Serbia have had difficult and unsuccessful negotiations to normalize their relations.

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