UPDATE: The Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement commeting on the sitaution. The Russian side described the decision to form the Kosovo Army as an apparent violation of the UN Security Council resolution 1244 and said that this move leads to a further escalation in the Balkans.
The foreign ministry also slammed the behavior of some NATO, US and EU politicians, who’d claimed that the creation of the Kosovo Army is not changing the core of the Kosovo Security Force. The minsitry pointed out that in fact the move will boost the number of Kosovo fighters by two times, lead to the creation of reserves and change the essence of the force. The Russian side noted that the US and NATO are acctively training Kosovo fighters and supplying them with weapons and equipment.
Kosovo “Prime Minister” Ramush Haradinaj, who has repeatedly threatened region with the resumption of hostilities, was described as an example of the failed Kosovo “statehood”. The foreign ministry concluded that Kosvo is a point instability in the Balkans and this tendency is developing.
On December 14, the Parliament of the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo overwhelmingly approved a decision to turn the existing 4,000-strong Kosovo Security Force into a regular army.
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic responded to this move by saying that that this development goes against efforts at stability in the volatile Balkans.
“Serbia will try to continue on the path of peace and stability, the road of prosperity.” Brnabic adds that “we should sit down and talk about building a better future,” she said. “Today is not the day that contributes to cooperation and stability in the region.”
Serbia doesn’t recognize Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence. The state has been opposed to the formation of the Kosovo Army for a long time. The main reaosn is that this entity would threaten the Serbs living in the area.
On the other hand, the US supported the creation of the Kosovo Army and reaffirmed “its support for the gradual transition … to a force with a territorial defense mandate, as is Kosovo’s sovereign right.”
NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said that the decision to start the formation of the army “was made despite the concerns expressed by NATO.”
“The transition of the Kosovo Security Force is in principle a matter for Kosovo to decide, we have made clear that this move is ill-timed,” he said.
He further called on both the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosov and Serbia “to remain calm and refrain from any statements or actions which may lead to escalation.”
Experts expect that the formation of the Kosovo Army will contribute to the further growth of tensions in the region and may escalate the situation in the Balkans in general.