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Kremlin: Serbs' Rights Must Be Guaranteed in Resolution of Conflict in Kosovo

© Sputnik / Oleg IvanovSerbian military and armored vehicles near the road between the village of Raska and the Yarine checkpoint on the administrative line between central Serbia and northern Kosovo
Serbian military and armored vehicles near the road between the village of Raska and the Yarine checkpoint on the administrative line between central Serbia and northern Kosovo - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.08.2022
The tensions around Kosovo flared up after its authorities attempted to force Serbs entering the self-proclaimed Republic to get temporary documents and replace their Serbian license plates with Kosovo-issued ones.
Russia fully stands by Serbia in the unfolding dispute with the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo and insists that the rights of Serbs must be guaranteed in a resolution of this conflict, Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov has stated.

"We stand by Serbs living in Kosovo. We believe that [the demands of Kosovo's authorities] are absolutely unfounded," Peskov said, referring to recent restrictions that the authorities of the self-proclaimed republic have imposed on incoming Serbs.

The conflict erupted on the border between the two states on August 31, after Pristina introduced a new requirement mandating that arriving Serbs get Kosovan documents and license plates instead of ones issued by Serbia. Soon afterwards, Pristina suspended the introduction of the new rules until September 1.
The Kremlin praised the move, stressing that it allowed for the avoidance of an escalation on the night of August 31. However, Peskov noted that the issue has yet to be fully resolved.
"The situation is, simply put, on hold for one month and so it is important that all sides show prudence [in resolving the issue]," Peskov said.
The spokesman stressed that the Western countries, which had chosen to recognize Kosovo and pledged to be its guarantors after it unilaterally declared independence in 2008, must use their influence so that Pristina does not make any reckless moves that would prompt the further escalation of tensions.

Tensions Re-Emerge in Kosovo

In preparation for introducing new rules for incoming Serbs, the Kosovan authorities closed a checkpoint on the administrative line separating the self-proclaimed Republic from Serbia on August 31. This prompted Serbs, which maintain large communities in northern Kosovo, to stage protests across the region during which they constructed makeshift barricades on the highways.
Pristina deployed its police force near the bridge across the Ibar River, not far from the administrative border between the two states. The contingent of the NATO-led international peacekeeping force deployed in Kosovo (KFOR) was also sighted there. At the same time, the Western countries stood up to convince Pristina to delay the introduction of the new rules until a solution is found to avoid further escalation.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic at a press conference following a meeting in Belgrade with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. - Sputnik International, 1920, 31.07.2022
'There Will Be No Surrender': Serbian President Calls for Peaceful Solution to Kosovo Escalation
KFOR was deployed in Kosovo following the end of the Kosovo War of 1998 and 1999 and the separation of the region from then-Yugoslavia. A decade later, the authorities in Pristina, the capital of the self-proclaimed Republic, declared independence. However, only 97 states recognized Kosovo, with Serbia, Russia, China, Iran, Spain, Greece and others refusing to do so.
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