Serbia is worried: Russia is no longer calls Kosovo “so-called”
Opinion in Serbia has begun to worry about fading Russian support in relation to the Kosovo issue. This, according to Serbian media, has started to become more noticeable since President Vladimir Putin began his invasion of Ukraine on February 24 this year, but some say Russia has never supported Serbia in relation to Kosovo.
The Serbian daily “Blic” analyzed the Russian representative’s speech at the last session for Kosovo at the UN Security Council.
Is Kosovo still “so-called” for Moscow? This question, says “Blic,” seems quite logical after the latest UN Security Council session dedicated to Kosovo.
As this medium write, “the session brought (un)expected news, in which Russia’s representative, as expected, supported Serbia, but a lower octave with softened rhetoric. However, an important detail emerged: diplomatic expert Vasily Nebenzya forgot, whether by chance or not, to say in his speech on Kosovo that it is “so-called.”
The article states that “all this might not have been so important if the representative of Russia had not insisted in all previous speeches to call the territory of the southern Serbian province that and had not always protested strongly when someone during the discussion connects Kosovo with some form of citizenship. However, last night for Vasily Nebenzyan, Kosovo was simply – Kosovo, and the rhetoric dealt mainly with issues that do not affect the citizenship of Pristina.”
“Blic” says that for two hours and 44 minutes the heated debate at the United Nations on Kosovo lasted, where representatives of powerful and less powerful countries are said to have taken turns, the head of Serbian diplomacy Nikola Selakovic also spoke. Again, according to “Blic,” attention was captured by the speeches of representatives of China and Russia, but Nebenzya’s speech left a particular impression.
Because, as media reports show, until this session the Russian representative to the UN Security Council has not missed an opportunity to mention Kosovo’s “false citizenship,” writes the Serbian medium.
Five years ago, in 2017, “Blic” wrote that Nebenzya predicted that “the project of the Republic of Kosovo” seems to be failing. He continued the same way three years later, while in 2020 he warned Kosovo’s then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Meliza Haradinaj Stublla, that he would be excluded from the next meeting if Kosovo symbols were placed.
“Once again on the screen we see the attributes of the so-called citizenship of Kosovo,” he criticized at the time.
But this year, “Blic” writes that the situation has changed dramatically. In a ten-minute speech, Nebenzya mentioned Kosovo some 20 times, but at no time was it the “so-called” Kosovo, nor the “false state,” nor the “project,” which until now were epithets from the mouths of Russian representatives.
He used the terms “province,” “Pristina authorities,” Kosovo,” “region.” Emphasis was placed on the weak position of the Serbs, the inability to return to Kosovo, incitement to hatred, seizure of property, and ignoring the return of monastery land, as claimed by the Russian representative to the UNSC.
“The rights of Serbs have been systematically and continuously violated since 1999, and practically during all these years we have witnessed the increasing ethnic cleansing. The number of Serbs south of the Ibar is decreasing drastically, there are only a few enclaves left and they cannot exercise their rights,” Nebenzya said.
At the end of the speech, he also focused on the role of the U.S. and the EU in the dialogue, which continue to “cook up” alternative solutions in favor of Kosovo, and also cited an example of a Franco-German document that requires Belgrade to agree on Kosovo’s citizenship.
“This is not the only example. The aspirations of Brussels and Washington are focused on Serbia giving up its national interest, sovereignty and territorial integrity”, Nebenzya emphasized, among other things.
And, writes “Blic,” that was the end of it.
This is also stressed by former diplomat and ambassador of Serbia to Belarus, Srećko Djukić, who believes that Nebenzya prepared his speech well and that it cannot be called a coincidence that he left out this very detail.
“The UN Security Council is the largest international forum and nothing happens by chance in such events. This kind of talk could be a sign that Russia has changed its position or will change it, both in Belgrade and Washington. They show that Kosovo can be a currency, for us it can be ‘this is what will happen if you introduce sanctions,’ and for the West, ‘we will recognize Kosovo, while you will also recognize some element of the current conflict or make some concessions,'” Djukić points out in “Blic.”
As an argument, he shows that since 2000 Russia has had a diplomatic mission in Kosovo, which is called the Office of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Kosovo.
“That office has the status of diplomatic representation and serves to maintain diplomatic relations with Pristina and the local authorities. There is no mention of it in Serbia either, that’s why they are talking about Greece,” Djukić points out.
On February 24, Russia began an invasion of Ukraine and its president, Vladimir Putin, occasionally justifies his war with Kosovo. Not long ago he asked, “When Kosovo can separate, why can’t Donetsk and Luhansk?”
Suzana Grubješić of the Center for Foreign Policy in Belgrade also says this about “Blic.”
“Since they traded the imposition of sanctions on FRY for IMF membership in May 1992, there is no guarantee that they will not trade Kosovo and Metohija’s admission to the UN for one of Ukraine’s annexed regions in the future. Russia mainly looks after its own interests and uses the precedent of Kosovo as currency to get even with the West. “Serbia has nothing to gain from this except the illusion that Russia is protecting our territorial integrity by violating that of Ukraine,” Grubješić points out.
Meanwhile, Serbia’s former Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac also spoke of the fading of Russian support. In an appearance on Serbian television K1, he said that Russia has never defended Kosovo.
“In 1992, Russia voted for UN sanctions against Serbia, and those sanctions were significantly greater than the sanctions against Russia. In 2003, they left Kosovo without any explanation. If they wanted to take care of Kosovo, they could stay,” Sutanovac said./Ballkani