Moscow slams NATO power games in Kosovo

Serbia, Zupce: Portuguese NATO-led peacekeepers (KFOR) patrol at the entrance of the village of Zupce in Serb-majority northern Kosovo on October 23, 2011. (AFP Photo / Alexa Stankovic)
Russia is concerned with the exacerbation of the situation in northern Kosovo, where NATO forces are pursuing their power politics targeted against Serbs, Russian envoy to the UN Vitaly Churkin is convinced.

­Violence could have been prevented, the diplomat said during a Security Council meeting devoted to the Kosovo settlement, if “KFOR focused on providing security of the region’s residents, as stipulated in their mandate, rather than on eliminating Serbian barricades, which are a response to Pristina’s attempts to take under control the administrative border with Serbia.”

The Russian diplomat also said that Moscow has supported Serbian government’s appeal to the UN secretary-general to thoroughly investigate an incident on September 27, when KFOR resorted to force, leading to a number of civilian casualties. Russia also insists on full and objective probe into cases of human organ trafficking revealed by member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Dick Marty.

The process of the return to Kosovo of displaced people, most of whom are Serbs, is unsatisfactory, Vitaly Churkin went on to say. And one of the main reasons for this is that those people are not confident of their security. In addition, “incidents of looting and theft of Kosovo Serbs’ property remain unpunished.”

He also demanded that all necessary measures be taken for the defense of Orthodox shrines and believers.

“The UN mission to Kosovo should play a most active role in Kosovo settlement,”
the Russian envoy to the UN stressed.

On November 29, at least two Kosovan Serbs and two NATO peacekeepers were injured in a fresh wave of violence near the town of Zubin Potok in the north of Kosovo. Serbs were protesting NATO’s attempts to remove a barricade made of buses and trucks that was blocking a main road in the region. NATO responded by firing rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons at the demonstrators. Churkin called the incident “outrageous.”