War in Ukraine, Putin ‘sacrifices’ Kosovo in the name of Donbass: slap in the face of his Serbian ally. Vucic: ‘Situation worsened after his words’

The Kosovo such as Donetsk And Luhansk. A challenging comparison, even for Vladimir Putin: it was in fact the Russian president, at the end of the meeting with the UN secretary general Antonio Guterres at the end of April, to support as “the decision of the United Nations International Court of Justice on Kosovo, according to which in the exercise of the right to self-determination the territory of a state is not obliged to ask for permission to declare its sovereignty to the authorities central, it may also apply to Ukrainian oblasts “. The statement of the Russian head of state certainly did not please Belgradehistorical friend of Fly: on May 6, the newly elected Serbian president at a press conference Aleksandar Vucic, now in his second term, highlighted how “our situation has changed for the worse after the statements of Russian President Vladimir Putin. There was no intention of harming Serbia but he raised the Kosovo issue in a different way than usual, to protect Russian interests. Now though we will have to face the problem, because the West will ask Serbia to advance rapidly towards the recognition of Kosovo ”. Important words are those of the Serbian leader, which however must be analyzed in the right measure. “It is certainly an important step taken by Vucic, but it is also a way to buy time on such a delicate issue while awaiting new international developments. A constant of his political action in all these years ”, underlines a Ilfattoquotidiano.it Giorgio FruscioneIspi researcher who follows the area of Balkans.

A disputed land and the Belgrade encirclement syndrome
Putin’s words come at a difficult time in relations between Serbia and the small Balkan republic, with which the relationship has never been idyllic since the times of the war in Yugoslavia. At the end of the 90s the Born intervened in defense of the citizens of Kosovo with the operation Allied Forcewhich consisted of an aerial bombing campaign against the Federal Republic of Slobodan Milosevicaccused of carrying out a systematic extermination campaign from the Albanian majority in the area. The war in Kosovo lasted 15 months and ended in 1999 with the withdrawal of the Yugoslav federal troops and the recognition of an international protectorate under the aegis of United Nations. The subsequent independence in 2008 was contested by Serbia, supported in this operation by Moscow: for this reason to recognize the autonomy of Pristina there are currently only 98 states out of 193, including Italy. The story, however, could now also change. “Moscow has taken a decisive step, in this way Putin has indeed acknowledged the existence of Kosovo. This way the matter will certainly be easier for both Washington that for the entire West ”, declared a Euractiv Srecko Đukićthe former ambassador of Serbia in Belarus. A fact of which Belgrade also seems to have become aware. “Vucic’s words should be interpreted as a first sign of a slow departure of Serbia from Moscow but without big jolts, trying to keep the balance between theEuropean Union and Russia and continuing to fuel the encirclement syndrome and the vision of Serbia as a small and defenseless state, victim of the interests of others ”, says Fruscione.

Serbia-Kosovo relations
A way to get your hands on, in short, knowing full well that Western partners could increasingly press him for one normalization of relations with Pristina which have recently reached a new point of friction. After the ban by the government of Pristina on holding Serbian parliamentary elections on its territory for the minority present in the country, consisting of almost 120 thousand people, the quarrel between the two foreign ministers at the United Nations Council and the attacks on Kosovar agents at the border they cooled the dialogue again. “On a diplomatic level, these incidents only increase the distance between the two countries, but they are beginning to be glimpsed soothing signals. Both Vucic and the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurtimet the chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin last week. The meetings were important because the principle of mutual recognition as a cornerstone from which one cannot derogate. But now the recognition of Kosovo will depend on the international situation. Putin’s reference only serves to create an association of ideas to the Western public, which still remembers with sympathy the Kosovar independentism ”, Fruscione underlines.

A comparison that certainly remains uncomfortable for Belgrade, still uncertain whether to favor the relationship with Brussels, Serbia’s first trading partner, or with Moscow, to which it has not applied sanctions since it depends 100% on Russia in terms of energy. Despite everything, however, the impression is that a sort of tacit agreement still remains valid between Belgrade and Moscow. “Putin’s declaration is certainly a headache for Vucic but it does not change the situation at least for the moment. The Russian veto on Kosovo will fall only when Pristina will no longer be a problem for Belgrade ”, Fruscione remarks.

The Serbian minority in Kosovo
In the midst of this diatribe there are the Kosovar Serbs, who once again felt betrayed by those in power in Belgrade. “President Vučić interprets international relations on the Kosovo issue in a way that is not favorable to Serbia. I don’t know his reasons, but I do know that his claim that Belgrade’s recognition of Pristina would deprive Putin of justification for Ukraine is completely illogical and nonsensical. It would be to Putin’s advantage if the central government of a country recognized the results of the ethno-secessionist movement on its territory. For the Russian president, this would mean strengthening the expectation that the Ukrainian government, like the Serbian government, will one day recognize the so-called ‘reality on the ground’ and accept the self-proclaimed statehood of Donetsk and Lugansk, “he told the Serbian daily. Danas Rada Trajković, president of the European Movement of Serbs of Kosovo and Metohija. According to them, with his latest statement, the Serbian president is preparing the ground for a recognition of Kosovo, with the excuse of international pressures. “Unfortunately, I expect from President Vucic many concessions on the Kosovo issue in the future and even acknowledgments, with the justification that this will preserve the peace and the future of the region and the security of the Serbs in the country”, he always stressed to the Belgrade newspaper. ‘lawyer Marko Jaksica close associate of the former president of the Kosovar Serbs Oliver Ivanovic, who died murdered in 2018. A historical complaint, which however does not seem to be able to influence the dynamics of relations between the two countries. “Vucic is not the first to be challenged, but let’s not forget that the Serbian-Kosovar parties are 100% controlled by Serbia. Those who hold power in Belgrade therefore remain the only valid interlocutor for the community ”, concludes Fruscione.

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