What does Moscow think about the Kosovo-Serbia issue?
Russia continues to support Serbia and not recognise Kosovo as the EU-led negotiations to normalise relations between Belgrade and Pristina are currently underway, though experts believe that Russia has not yet made significant statements.
Russian officials and media workers interpret the European proposal for normalisation of relations between Belgrade and Pristina negatively, political analyst Dragomir Andjelkovic told EURACTIV.rs.
“Realistically, that proposal is an attempt at a brutal imposition on Serbia of de facto recognition of Kosovo. However, it is mainly the West that is under attack by Russian criticism for imposing the aforementioned plan, not the Serbian leadership that is showing signs of excessive complacency and readiness to accept an agreement that is not favourable for our side,” said Andjelkovic.
Russia’s Ambassador to Serbia, Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko, has repeatedly stated to the media that Russia is consistently committed to UN Security Council Resolution 1244, does not recognise Kosovo, and remains loyal to the principle of supporting Belgrade.
While it has said that the plan is unfavourable for Serbia, it keeps sending signals that Serbia should decide whether to accept it and that it will not affect Moscow’s stance towards the Serbian establishment.
However, according to Dimitrije Milic, political analyst and program director of the New Third World organisation, Russia has not made significant public statements on the agreement, though some Russian interests are easily identifiable.
“The authorities in Moscow do not like it when the issue of Kosovo is resolved without their participation, which has been the case from the start of negotiations in Brussels until today,” Milic told EURACTIV.rs.
“Given that accepting the proposal would be an additional step towards normalising relations between Belgrade and Pristina, this would not be in Russia’s interest. The Kremlin has influence over Serbia through the issue of Kosovo in the United Nations and in the field of energy, primarily natural gas imports, and Western countries have been trying to push out Russian influence in these two specific areas this and last year,” he added.
According to Saša Janković, an expert in human and minority rights and security, Serbia is actually in an excellent negotiating position as does not have to recognise the independence of Kosovo, nor give up its roots and national dignity, and can show the constructiveness that the world desperately needs at this moment.
“The violent secession of Kosovo is an argument for Russian President Putin that he can also secede parts of Ukraine. The proposal, backed by both the EU and the US, aims for a negotiated solution and normalisation of relations. Not only is this necessary for the West, but also for Serbia because otherwise, the permanent conflict is an obstacle to normal life and progress in the country,” Janković told EURACTIV.
(Tamara Milošević Grbić | EURACTIV.rs)