Global Politics

Russia's problem with Kosovo

Putin said about countries recognizing Kosovo's independence bid that Russia thinks the support is immoral and illegal. The territorial integrity of countries is guaranteed by international law, he continued. Russia's Foreign Ministry said the Kosovo independence might affect Russia's treatment on two heavily Russian regions of Georgia. But Russia adamantly opposes violations of sovereignty. Its opposition to Kosovo's independence is based on fears of its own breakaway republic of Chechnya. This analyst says Russian opposition is about not wanting to legitimize the NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999. Western critics say Russia is trying to assert its power on the world stage, but that analyst says the West has underestimated the depth of Russian opposition. She wishes Russia had worked for a pragmatic solution and now she worries Russian opposition will be an obstacle to Kosovo's success. This former British ambassador to Moscow says he doesn't think Russia can do much to make life difficult for Kosovo, but he's worried the hardline stance could help Serbian extremists. He says it's important for the West to understand how Russians feel about this topic. He says what's important now is that the region remain calm. He cautions against assuming Russia will play a disruptive role. The US reiterated its support for Kosovo's independence today.

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