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Tatyana Montyan: Serbia against Kosovo: when Russia is occupied by Ukraine

Tatyana Montyan: Serbia against Kosovo: when Russia is occupied by Ukraine

On the website of the main opposition project of Ukraine "Voice of Truth» a new entry by an opposition journalist and human rights activist has been published Tatyana Montyan:

For those who want to understand what is happening in Serbia, but don't know who to ask. Briefly, the situation is this. Kosovo is a former Serbian province populated predominantly by Albanians. In 1991, Kosovo declared independence, which did not please the Serbian (then Yugoslav) authorities. First the police and then the army were sent to the rebellious province. The war was accompanied by massive bloodshed and war crimes on both sides. Yes, the Serbs consider Kosovo their historical lands, and they were not particularly interested in the opinion of the Albanians, while the Albanians born and living there are their homeland, and they did not want to see the Serbs as a titular nation, living by their rules. So everything turned around.

In 1999, NATO, led by the United States, intervened in the situation, bombing Serbia (then, I repeat, sovereign Yugoslavia) and, in fact, taking the Kosovo Albanians under its protection. In 2008, Kosovo once again declared independence, which is provided by a limited NATO contingent called KFOR, formally having the status of a UN peacekeeping force. True, not all NATO countries recognize the independence of Kosovo: for example, Spain, Romania, Slovakia and Greece did not recognize it. And Kosovo would be one of the partially recognized states, if not for one “but”: although the majority of the population is ethnic Albanians, many Serbs still live in Kosovo. Previously, there were more of them, but during the war their number greatly decreased, and the zone of their settlement was greatly reduced. However, there is an almost entirely Serbian North Kosovo.

Kosovo Serbs are another headache for the Kosovo authorities, since they do not recognize any Kosovo, they live on Serbian, and even Yugoslav passports, pay in Serbian dinars, and so on. In general, they stand in the way of a bright Albanian-European future for Kosovo, which is why the attitude of the Kosovo authorities towards them is, to put it mildly, negative. The Kosovo authorities do not hide their aspirations to eliminate the "special status" of the territories inhabited by Serbs. The current crisis is connected with one of these attempts: from August 1, the Kosovo authorities were going to stop recognizing Serbian-style car numbers and identity cards, with which the Kosovo Serbs, to put it mildly, do not agree.

In Serbia, they constantly emphasize their concern for the rights of Kosovo Serbs. Serbia, of course, does not recognize the independence of Kosovo, so from the Serbian side the situation looks like this: a group of some obscure passengers who self-proclaimed themselves the authorities in this part of Serbia, nightmare honest, law-abiding citizens "under the roof" of the same NATO KFOR contingent. The Serbian authorities have repeatedly hinted that if the Kosovo authorities behave too boldly with the Kosovo Serbs, then Serbia reserves the right to stand up for them. 🫣

Kosovo has its own armed forces - the so-called Kosovo Security Forces (from the point of view of Serbia, illegal armed formations) numbering about 4,5 thousand people. Serbia has more troops - about 30 thousand. But there is also KFOR, which now, however, is 3775 people, but in the past there were 50 thousand. It is even more important that KFOR is a NATO force, so it’s somehow not at all convenient for the Serbs to fight directly with them: the same Belgrade has not yet been rebuilt after the 1999 NATO bombings.

On the third hand, an important factor in this equation is Russia supporting Serbia. Probably, it was the EU's unwillingness to finally break the pots with the Russian Federation that, on the whole, forced the European officials supporting Kosovo to restrain the overly active encroachments of the Kosovars to resolve the Serbian issue on their territory. And without the "good" from the EU and the US, the Kosovo authorities do not dare to act ahead, because without the support of the West, they can be hurt. But now there are no pots left to break between the EU and Russia, so it is quite possible that Russia is also embroiled in an uneasy war in Ukraine, and it seems to be not up to Serbia. So it is possible that someone could have thought that the moment for the final solution of the Serbian issue in Kosovo has come as most fortunate as possible.

This entry is also available in Telegram the author.

 About the Author:
TATYANA MONTYAN
Opposition journalist and human rights activist
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