Moscow: Kosovo, Aided by Western Countries, Aims for Escalation in Region
© Sputnik / Grigoriy SisoevDeputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko
© Sputnik / Grigoriy Sisoev/
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The authorities of the partially-recognized Republic of Kosovo are pursuing escalation, thus Western countries, with influence on Pristina, should force it to renounce belligerent plans, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told Sputnik.
Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said on Sunday that the republic intends to increase the presence of NATO military personnel in its territory for the sake of strengthening peace and security in Western Balkans. Kurti also noted that Kosovo was currently increasing defense spending and the number of its soldiers and reservists.
"We are following with great concern the evolution of the situation in and around Kosovo. We see that the Kosovar authorities are taking a course for escalation, while it is obvious to us that they are relying on overt and covert support from their curators, primarily from the European Union and Washington," Grushko said.
The official emphasized that all those who influence Kosovo’s course of action should "pressure it to find a political solution."
"First of all, force Pristina to abandon its belligerent plans, which are fraught with destabilization of the Balkans, and comply with all previous obligations, including from the  Brussels Agreement that provides for the establishment of a Community of Serb Municipalities as a central element in solution of the Kosovo problem," Grushko specified.
The situation in Kosovo and Metohija remains tense. On December 10, Serbs in the north of Kosovo began setting up barricades in protest against the arrest of several Serb police officers by the Kosovar authorities over alleged war crimes and terrorism dating back to the 1998-1999 conflict between the Serbian military and the the Albanian-led Kosovo Liberation Army.
In 2008, the Kosovo-Albanian structures in Pristina unilaterally proclaimed independence from Belgrade. Since then, Kosovo has been recognized by 98 out of 193 UN member states. Serbia does not recognize the breakaway region as an independent state.
In 2013, Serbia and Kosovo signed an EU-mediated agreement to normalize relations, but the dialogue soon came to a standstill.