Russia concerned over tensions in Kosovo

Russia has joined the EU and US in condemning Kosovo’s decision to send Special Forces to seize border crossings along the shared frontier with Serbia. Moscow says it threatens to destabilize the region.

­“The dramatic deterioration of the situation in northern Kosovo causes our serious concerns,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on its website on Wednesday.

“We believe that the Kosovo-Albanian authorities’ provocative actions destabilize the already fragile situation in the region, escalate tensions and undermine the negotiating process between Belgrade and Pristina,” it said.

NATO-led peacekeepers have been deployed to the area to help control the situation, which is stoking ethnic tensions. Hundreds of people blocked main roads in response to Kosovan police seizing two disputed border crossings. One police officer was killed in overnight clashes, two policemen have been wounded.

Kosovo says it is trying to enforce a ban on Serbian imports in response to a similar boycott of Kosovan goods.

Around 60,000 Serbs live in the north and do not recognize Kosovo’s independence, which it unilaterally declared in 2008.

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