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Putin’s Puppet Echoes Him On Kosovo

by @ 5:08 pm on February 25, 2008. Filed under Foreign Affairs, Russia, Serbia

Not that it should come as a surprise:

MOSCOW — Dmitri A. Medvedev, Russia’s first deputy prime minister and the presumptive successor to President Vladimir V. Putin, on Monday committed the Kremlin to long-term support in backing Serbia against an independent Kosovo.

Mr. Medvedev appeared in Belgrade, the Serbian capital, with Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica. It was Mr. Medvedev’s first significant foreign-policy appearance since he became the front-runner for Russia’s highest office, and he restated Mr. Putin’s position and made clear that it would be his own.

“We proceed from the understanding that Serbia is a single state with its jurisdiction spanning its entire territory and we will stick to this principled stance in the future,” he said, in remarks reported widely on news broadcasts in Russia.

“Serbia,” he added, faces “conditions of illegitimate actions to unilaterally recognize Kosovo.”

The United States reacted quickly to Mr. Medvedev’s statements. restating its own support for Kosovo, and made clear that in Washington’s view, its break from Serbia was final.

“We are going to continue to try to work with both the Russians and the Serbs on this but I think that it ought to be clear to everybody at this point that Kosovo is never going to be a part of Serbia again,” Tom Casey, a State Department spokesman, told reporters, according to the Associated Press.

The Russians will bluster about this for awhile but, in the end, I don’t see them turning this into a major diplomatic incident. To be blunt about it, Russia has more important things to worry about, and the Serbs aren’t worth it.

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