Russia sends humanitarian aid to Kosovo
Dec 7, 2011 19:36
Photo: RIA Novosti
Russia is sending its second shipment of humanitarian aid to Kosovo Serbs, the emergencies ministry has announced. A truck convoy left the town of Noginsk near Moscow on Wednesday morning. It will deliver blankets, power generators, furniture, tableware and food supplies to Kosovo Serbs hit by the recent conflict in the region.
The assistance is provided at the behest of Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev.
The convoy, which is travelling across Ukraine and Romania, is expected to arrive in Kosovo on December 12th.
The situation in Northern Kosovo deteriorated in the middle of September, when the Albanian authorities of the self-proclaimed state assumed control over the Jarinje and Brnjak checkpoints on the administrative border with Serbia. Kosovo Serbs have since started building barricades to protest the move. They say that if Albanian checkpoints are to be located there, they will lose the last ties with Serbia.
Emergency Ministry spokeswoman Irina Adrianova has told the Voice of Russia that this is the second shipment of humanitarian aid:
“The 40-truck convoy will deliver 500 tons of blankets, power generators, furniture, tableware and food supplies to Serbs residing in the northern parts of Kosovo. In November, an emergencies ministry’s cargo plane delivered the first shipment of humanitarian aid for Kosovo Serbs which included food, mobile ovens and tableware. The total weight of the first shipment amounted to 36 tons.”
Earlier over 50 thousand Kosovo Serbs, almost 73 percent of the whole Serbian population in the region, applied for Russian citizenship. Russia turned down the request but still promised to lend a hand.
Nadezhda Arbatova, a member of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policies, is confident that further interference in the Serbia-Kosovo affairs may lead to a political confrontation:
“Russia has no right to grant citizenship to Kosovo Serbs. This would lead to serious tensions in Russia’s relations with Serbia and the European Union. Nonetheless, Russia is able to draw attention to the situation in the region, as the problem of Kosovo has not been resolved yet.”
Experts from the European Union still refer to Kosovo as an unfinished state. The talks between Pristine and Belgrade are far from over, and until a final solution is reached, problems like this will keep coming back.
The date of Serbia’s accession to the European Union will be set in the near future. Brussels insists on the resumption of the talks between Serbia and Kosovo. The Serb minority of Kosovo is opposed to the province’s declaration of independence.
Natalya Kovalenko, The Voice of Russia