Demonstrators clashed with NATO peacekeepers in Kosovo. Photos/BBC
MOSCOW – Instead of easing hostility between local authorities and ethnic majority Serbia in the north Kosovo team NATO only exacerbated the unrest. This was announced by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in a statement.
Zakharova pointed out that the situation in the area has reached a “critical red line”. He was referring to violent clashes between local Serbs and NATO Kosovo Forces (KFOR) that erupted after bloc soldiers attempted to disperse demonstrators protesting the installation of a new ethnic Albanian mayor. The stalemate resulted in dozens of wounds on both sides.
The unrest came after local Serbs, who have long wanted more autonomy, boycotted a Pristina-backed election in northern Kosovo. Despite a turnout of less than 4%, local authorities deemed them legitimate, resulting in the election of four ethnic Albanian mayors.
Zakharova argued that the crisis in Kosovo, which could be resolved peacefully, turned out to be too difficult a problem for NATO military members to solve.
“Not only did they show their incompetence… (they) themselves became a source of unnecessary violence, a factor of escalation,” the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman claimed as quoted by Russia Today, Wednesday (31/5/2023).
“As a result, those accused of protecting Serbs from this crackdown are supporting Pristina’s xenophobic aspirations, essentially turning into accomplices of terror by defending local authorities,” he said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson also urged the West to silence its false propaganda and stop accusing the desperate Serbs of provoking incidents when they were simply trying to defend their legitimate rights by peaceful means.
“While looking for the guilty, mediators from the US and EU should muster up courage and reflect,” said the Russian official.