Serbia’s foot in two shoes makes Kosovo fear becoming the “new Ukraine” and its Prime Minister Albin Kurti appeals to the EU and NATO
Serbia wants to join the European Union but does not sanction Russia and its winking at President Vladimir Putin worries neighboring Kosovo, led by Prime Minister Albin Kurti.
Here are the reasons. THE DOUBLE FACE OF SERBIA
While on the one hand Serbia voted in favor of the UN General Assembly resolution which condemned the Russian aggression and the violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, on the other hand it decided not to impose sanctions in Moscow, unlike the EU countries, of which, however, it would like to be a part.
At the beginning of March, as people in different parts of the world took to the streets to protest against Putin over the war unleashed in Ukraine, the streets in Belgrade were filled with nationalist Serbs and Communists who expressed their support for the invader. . Among the slogans also: “Crimea and Russia – Kosovo and Serbia”. There was, however, no lack of pro-Ukraine demonstrations. Demonstration of how the country is split in half. KURTI’S CONCERN
This ambiguity and the bond between Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Putin who, according to Kurti in an interview with Repubblica, have seen each other 19 times, the last of which on 25 November, make the premier fear Kosovar “a new Ukraine” in his country.
“The Balkans – Kurti told Sky News on March 2 – are not immune from the effects of the situation in Ukraine because we have a state [Serbia, ed.] Which has not imposed sanctions on Russia and which has not joined the EU in condemnation of the Russian occupation. The people of Kosovo are concerned that the despotic President Vladimir Putin will try to carry on the war in the Western Balkans to turn it into a battlefield with Western democracies ”.
And Serbia, as well as Russia and Ukraine, it must be remembered that they do not recognize Kosovo which proclaimed itself independent in 2008. THE TIES BETWEEN RUSSIA AND SERBIA
Kurti told Repubblica that he sees in Vucic “a puppet of the Kremlin” in the government of a country that “imitates Russia even though it is not” and fears the attempt to destabilize the Balkans “by replicating the model”.
In the course of the interview he explained that Serbia “wants European money and Russian weapons”, which he has actually received from Moscow in recent years. Gas also arrives in the country “at a bargain price”.
“Gazprom – says Kurti – has 56% of the Serbian oil industry, and has 51% of the large storage unit in Vojvodina. Lukoil, Russian Railways, Vtb bank, Rosatom, Roscosmos, and Sberbank are all there: and the hardware of the Russian presence in Serbia and Vucic and the software ”. KOSOVO’S PRESSURES TO JOIN NATO AND THE EU
The fear of a domino effect caused by the war in Ukraine prompted Kurti to reiterate Pristina’s wish to join the EU and NATO as soon as possible: “We already have a NATO presence, but if we are accepted, it would be better for the people Kosovar, for Kosovo, for the whole region and for the European continent in general, ”he told Sky News.
That to NATO and the same appeal also launched by the Kosovar president Vjosa Osmani, who said: “In light of the situation in Ukraine, the time has come for Kosovo to join NATO” precisely because she too fears that the crisis in Ukraine could extend to the Balkan region. Osmani called Ukraine “the first line in the defense of democracy” and the countries of the Western Balkans – in particular Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro but also Albania and North Macedonia – “are the second front line”.
In Repubblica, Kurti also recalled that last year Kosovo participated with 350 soldiers in the largest NATO exercise, Defender Europe 2021, while Serbia was alongside Russia and Belarus in the ‘Slavic Shield’. THE ALARMS
In addition to the frequent meetings between Putin and Vucic, there are also some signs, including the increase in the Serbian budget for the armed forces (+ 70% from 2015 to 2021), the fact that the country has 40 Mig, of which “8 ‘donated’ from Belarus and 6 from Russia”, 30 T72 tanks and another 30 armored vehicles, which are added to the Russian air defense system.
“In 2012, before Vucic, there were two joint military programs between Russia and Serbia. In 2016 there were 50, last year 100. The Sputnik center in the Balkans and in Belgrade; and 160 kilometers from Pristina there is the Russian ‘Humanitarian Center’: they are the heart of the hybrid war in the Western Balkans, and as we have seen it is not a substitute for war: it is its preparation ”, denounced Kurti.

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