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Background to the Kosovo conflict

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Kosovo’s political leaders have vowed to declare independence in February. Serbia is only ready to grant Kosovo broad autonomy.

Kosovo's political leaders have vowed to declare independence in February. Serbia is only ready to grant Kosovo broad autonomy.

Russia is convinced that the idea of Kosovo's independence is far-fetched. Nobody had even mentioned it before NATO bombed Yugoslavia in 1999. At that time, the discussion centered on various parameters of autonomy and a change in Yugoslavia's federal structure.

The bombing dramatically affected Kosovo's demographic make-up - the Serbian population has dwindled from more than 30% to less than 10% and been driven into a ghetto. This fact questions the legitimacy of the province's current authorities. There are grounds to say that the NATO bombing has largely provoked them into channeling Albanian nationalist sentiments into a demand for independence.

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