Kosovo Serbs denied Russian citizenship

Moscow is unable to approve thousands of Kosovo Serbs’ applications for Russian citizenship, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.

By the start of November, more than 20,000 Kosovo Serbs, unhappy with their status in the province, had applied for Russian citizenship.

“We will continue working to ensure Kosovo Serbs their legitimate rights and interests using political and diplomatic means,” Lukashevich said, adding that citizenship could not be granted under Russian laws.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had ordered humanitarian supplies to be sent to Serbs in northern Kosovo, he said.

A convoy of 26 trucks with diesel power stations, ovens, sets of folding furniture, blankets, bed linen, foodstuffs and other items, will shortly be sent to the region, an emergencies ministry spokeswoman said.

Kosovo Serbs seeking Russian citizenship say they are not planning to move to Russia, but simply want political protection from Moscow.

Kosovo, a landlocked region with a population of mainly ethnic Albanians, declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008. Ethnic Serbs account for up to 10 percent of Kosovo’s two-million population.

Both Serbia and Russia have refused to recognize Kosovo’s independence.


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