22:39 GMT02 December 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Russia regrets that the European Union has failed to adequately respond to Kosovo's decision to transform the Kosovo Security Force into a national army, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia told the Security Council on Monday.

    "We've been very disappointed by the position of the European Union. On the one hand, it claims to play the role of an objective mediator," Nebenzia told the Security Council on Monday. "On the other hand, it disregards the illegal creation of the Kosovo army. The reaction of the EU to the latest decision of Pristine can only be called toothless."

    Moreover, the decision to transform the existing security forces in Kosovo into an army is in blatant violation on UN Security Council resolution 1244, Nebenzia said.

    "The decision on transforming the Kosovo security forces into the Kosovo defense forces has become a gross violation of the [UN] Security Council resolution 1244," Nebenzia told the Security Council on Monday. "As far as the decision to create the armed force of Kosovo, which violates the resolution [1244], it must be reversed immediately," Nebenzia said.

    Russian envoy to the United Nations also stressed that the Balkans remain a fertile ground for radicalization.

    "The region continues to be a fertile ground for recruiting radicals,” Nebenzia said. "Terrorist returnees from Syria and Iraq take refuge there." Nebenzia added that the rate of return for refugees and internally displaced persons to the Balkan region remains highly unsatisfactory.

    "There is a real threat of humanitarian crisis due to the introduction by Pristina of protective tariffs on the import of goods from Serbia," he added.

    WATCH: NATO Troops in Kosovo Conduct Military Drills on Its Roads

    On December 15, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern over Kosovo's decision to form an army, urging all parties concerned to exercise restraint.

    In October, Kosovo's parliament voted to change the mandate of the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) and transform it into the republic's national army. On Monday, Kadri Veseli, the speaker of the Kosovar legislature, announced that the army would be officially created on December 14. The forces will reportedly comprise a total of 8,000 people — 5,000 active duty soldiers and 3,000 reservists.

    The decision by the ruling Albanians in Kosovo to create an army has been criticized not only by Serbia, but also by NATO, with the alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg saying such actions were "ill-timed."

    READ MORE: Kosovo Will Send Soldiers to Serve in Afghanistan, Iraq — Reports

    Albanians in Serbia’s province of Kosovo and Metohia proclaimed independence in 2008 — a move that has been encouraged by the United States and its allies and recognized by more than hundred UN member states. The move has not been recognized by Serbia and two permanent members of the UN Security Council — Russia and China.

    Meanwhile, representatives of the EU8 countries at the United Nations delivered a statement on Monday urging Kosovo and Serbia to use restraint, lower tensions, and work towards resuming their dialogue.

    "We call on both sides to take steps to exercise restraint and to lower the tensions and create the conditions to resume as soon as possible their dialogue as facilitated by the EU High Representative. A binding agreement addressing all issues should remain the key priority," the statement said.

    Serbia's Ambassador to Russia Slavenko Terzic told Sputnik on Friday that Belgrade is interested in continuing constructive talks with Kosovo but does not expect a "sober dialogue" due to Kosovo's decision to create its own national army.


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