Serbian President Vucic warns Ukraine of cost if the latter recognizes Kosovo as a state

Beleaguered Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic—fresh off of seeing his top secret services director sanction by the US and also facing criticism over Serbia’s take on Kosovo by a wide range of European parliamentarians—now faces the spectre of Ukraine moving to recognize Kosovo as an independent state.

And he’s not down for this at all.

“Ukraine is a friendly country to us,” Vucic said during a press conference, as cited by European Pravda. “[…] If Ukraine recognises the independence of Kosovo, it will lose everything.”

Specifically, Vucic was responding to the aforementioned open letter, which came from more than 50 European MPs, as well as from 10 European foreign affairs committees. The letter complained that the EU and the US were wrongly favoring Serbia in the never-ending Kosovo crises while noting Serbian influence on local elections.

The letter did appear to be very one-sided, and paradoxically it drew conclusions from local elections boycotted by Serbs that were patently incorrect, as the EU and the US have called for Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti to call for new elections in order to fairly represent Serbs. It also omitted Kosovo’s failure to adhere to previous pacts, including a 2013-2014 agreement to create a community of Serb municipalities (CSM), which has never been enacted by any Kosovo government.

And interestingly, Vucic has often used Ukraine’s right to protect its borders in the Kosovo argument, stating that like Ukraine, Serbia’s border integrity was infringed upon during the war in Kosovo and during later agreements and pressures coming from the West. Here, despite Serbia having long and deep ties to Russia, he has veered from the Russian take on the war in Ukraine.

That said, his close ties to controversial Republika Srpska leader Milorad Dodik, as well as Serbia’s refusal to sanction Russia, has kept him in the firing line, although over the past six weeks the EU and US did appear at times to have shown frustration with Kosovo’s Kurti, having called for Kurti to not only hold new elections, but also to reduce the ethnic-Albanian police forces within Kosovo’s Serb-dominated districts.

Photo of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy by President.gov.ua, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

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