MOSCOW, Russian Federation – The head of the committee of the Federation Council on International Affairs Konstantin Kosachev has just condemned the illegal decision of Kosovo to create its own army and pointed out the role of the United States in supporting Kosovo in this matter, as TASS reported on Friday, December 14th.
“Those who are behind Kosovo’s daring and illegal act do not even need to guess: the only ones who supported the Kosovars are the United States,” Kosachev said.
At the same time, Serbia as a state enjoys particular support – irrespective of its government per se – from several power vectors in the Russian Federation. Putin and Lavrov have both expressed Russia’s position on the question of Kosovo – Russia opposes Kosovo’s move to separate from Serbia, as well as the pressure from NATO countries to recognize it. The EU also is at odds with Serbia on this question.
On December 14th, the Kosovo authorities announced the adoption of three laws that trigger the process of transforming the republic’s security forces into an army. In particular, Pristina plans to double the number of military staffers – up to 5 thousand personnel.
The Russian Foreign ministry also released an announcement mirroring the position of the Federation Council on International Affairs. Their approach however is meant to call the question, stating on Friday the NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo “must take urgent and exhaustive measures to demilitarize and disband any armed Kosovar-Albanian formations.”
The Russian foreign ministry also denounced some Western officials who say that the new Kosovo army would be no different from the existing Kosovo Security Force.
It says that “in reality, it doubles its numbers and creates reserves and most importantly substitutes the essence of the forces whose role until recently was that of civil defense.”
Meanwhile, the actions of the Kosovo authorities were condemned by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. He called this move “untimely” and expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that Pristina ignored the concern of the alliance.
Kosovo’s status is de facto unresolved, as there is a lack of general consensus in the international community, with the U.S presently occupying the south of Serbia, in the Kosovo region of the country under the framework of NATO’s KFOR. More than 90% of the population of the republic are Albanians, the Serbs are a minority and claim oppression on national, i.e indigenous soil. Historically, the demographics of the area have shifted, with the present predominance of Albanians today being the result of several factors, including a Yugoslavia era policy which favored migration into the Kosovo region. The republic proclaimed independence from Serbia unilaterally in 2008, two years later it was recognized by the International Court of Justice, but is not by the UN.
The UN Security Council framework on Kosovo is premised around the ultimate goal of keeping Kosovo as part of Serbia, but with an ‘unusual degree of autonomy’ as an autonomous province within Serbia. Therefor, despite the 2008 secession from Serbia being practically possible only within the reality of the KFOR occupation of the region, the de facto Government in Pristina, Kosovo, cannot make moves towards establishing for itself an army. These events come as tensions between Serbia and several of its NATO backed neighbors remain tense.