Statement by Chargé d’Affaires of the Russian Federation Dmitry Polyanskiy at UNSC briefing on the situation in Kosovo

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February 8, 2024


We thank SRSG Ziadeh for the briefing on the developments in Kosovo and the information shared.

We welcome President of Serbia, Alexander Vučić, to this meeting. We also listened to the opinion of Mr.Albin Kurti.

We appreciate the prompt scheduling of this Security Council meeting on Kosovo by the Guyanese Presidency at the request of Serbia and Russia. Unfortunately, in addition to the hotspot in Gaza, from where Israel is trying hard to expel all Palestinians, we risk getting another hotspot in the Balkans, where the Kosovo authorities are acting in a similar manner and creating horrendous “facts on the ground” as regards ethnic Serbs, whom Mr.Kurti in this very chamber just called “criminals and terrorists”.

The problem has assumed such proportions that the Serb population of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo risk being physically driven out of the area. In an effort to establish total control over the north of the Province and to get rid of the non-Albanian population, the Pristina authorities unleashed a real anti-Serb terror. Their objective is clear: to create unbearable living conditions for Kosovo Serbs in order to force them to leave their ancestral homes forever. Let me put it bluntly: right before the eyes of our American and European colleagues who offer all sort of indulgence to Pristina, a policy is unfolding in Kosovo and Metohija today that is shockingly reminiscent of actual ethnic cleansing and that the Western self-proclaimed advocates of universal human rights try their best to ignore.

The regime in Kosovo uses a variety of measures to expel unwanted citizens. In particular, Pristina’s proxies at the head of four municipalities continue their malicious activities, and the embargo on import of Serbian goods remains effective. As we just learned from the Serbian president, that resulted in more than 14% of Serbs leaving the Province last year. The immediate reason for convening today’s meeting was Pristina’s illegal decision to ban the circulation of the Serbian dinar in Kosovo. This criminal and treacherous step makes the life of ordinary citizens almost unbearable, as about 100,000 non-Albanians may be left without social benefits, scholarships and salaries. Not to mention that it jeopardizes the functioning of humanitarian institutions, including children’s daycare facilities, hospitals, schools, trading companies, and industrial enterprises. This is not an economic, but a political and discriminatory measure, torpedoing all the efforts of the international community to find compromise and sustainable solutions in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. As a result, there is a direct risk of a new outbreak of violence in the Balkans.

We are convinced that in these circumstances, the UN Security Council must check the arrogant Kosovo leaders who seek, without any justification, to turn the dialogue with Belgrade into an instrument for settling the issue of status, contrary to the provisions of UNSC resolution 1244, which confirms the sovereignty of the Republic of Serbia over the territory of Kosovo and Metohija.


The atmosphere of hatred that has reached a critical level in Kosovo is embodied in hostile narrative, acts of intimidation by Pristina’s security forces, regular attacks on Serbs and their property, and systematic acts of vandalism against Orthodox shrines. The electoral rights of non-Albanian citizens come to be grossly violated, their property – illegally alienated, and the activities of Serbian companies, administrative and utility services are being forcibly curtailed. Psychological pressure builds up systematically. For example, in 2023 alone, there were 178 ethnicity-based attacks on Serbs and their property.

A campaign is taking place to usurp and albanize Serbian cultural heritage. The history of Kosovo and Metohija is being rewritten, there are seizures of churches, and ancient Orthodox churches are declared Catholic. Traces of the centuries-old Serb presence on that land are being erased. Thus, at the end of December last year, Pristina again declared two medieval Orthodox churches in the north of the province “Catholic” without any consultation with the Serbian Orthodox Church and began their alleged reconstruction. Another egregious case occurred this January: Kosovo Albanians organized a raid on the 13th-century Orthodox Monastery of the Mother of God in Hvosno in the west of Kosovo.

No less shocking is the consistent policy of the provisional self-government institutions in Pristina towards sabotaging the implementation of its key and, in fact, the only commitment made almost 11 years ago during the EU-mediated dialogue with Serbia. That is Pristina’s commitment to form a Community of Serb Municipalities (CSM) in Kosovo and Metohija. This mechanism, enshrined in the Brussels agreements, was designed as a bridge for cooperation and confidence-building among ordinary people – Serbs and Albanians – and as a necessary institutional barrier to prevent discrimination and persecution attempts against Serbs.

It is also hard to ignore the dominance of Kosovo Albanian militias in the Province, whose very existence contravenes resolution 1244. According to the resolution, they should have been demilitarized, which implies a ban on their reconstitution in any form. In fact, Kosovo has plunged into lawlessness: Serbs were deprived of their legal right to vote in the Serbian referendum and elections in 2023, repressions and crimes against humanity are ravaging. Arbitrary detentions of prominent Serb activists, mass intimidation, as well as physical and institutional violence against the Serb population take place all across the Province. The President of Serbia has provided a detailed account today, but I can only add that the scale of the lawlessness is staggering. Unbelievable that this is happening today, in this day and age, in the heart of Europe. What’s even more striking is that Washington and Brussels are watching this coolly and pretend this is not a big deal.

Instead of demanding a settlement within the existing international legal framework, the European Union (who actually endorsed this framework) blackmails Belgrade and speaks of introducing oral agreements that were reached with Pristina in February-March 2023 to the Serbian negotiations file and making them legally binding. At the same time, they completely ignore the Brussels agreements, which makes Brussels’ words no more than an empty sound. This is a vivid illustration of EU’s intractability and its complete failure as a mediator between Belgrade and Pristina.

At the same time, Serbia continues to be subjected to fraudulent and unfair demands to recognize Kosovo and its accession to multilateral mechanisms, including the United Nations. At the same time, the West is pushing for the Province’s admission to the Council of Europe. This is an unprecedented case where a membership candidate is not a state. In short, the collective West utilizes the so-called rules-based order to the fullest, undermining the norms of international law.


In order to see how to establish lasting peace on Serbian soil, we need to recall the real cause of today’s dramatic developments. I mean the NATO aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In March we will mark the 25th anniversary of the inhumane annihilation of civilians in the heart of Europe by the Americans and their allies. The “champions of democracy” bombed the country with depleted uranium shells, which resulted in massive casualties and the destruction of civilian infrastructure. Catastrophic damage was done to the environment. NATO will be cursed for this by the next 60 generations of people doomed to suffer health issues because of Washington’s criminal actions, which former U.S. Secretary of State M.Albright cynically called “collateral damage”.

Today, Washington and its satellites continue to actively support the aggressive policy of Kosovo Albanians against Serbs. As one of the founders of the United Nations and a permanent member of the Security Council, the United States has gone so far as to publicly and officially announce its intention to violate UNSC resolutions. Thus, the Pentagon has publicly announced plans to supply Pristina with 24 Javelin anti-tank missile systems and 246 shells. This provocative step would be a flagrant violation of UNSC resolution 1244.

Inspired by Washington, Kosovo Albanians are now openly saying that Kosovo in its current form is just a “temporary project on the way to unification with Albania”. In the meantime, they have announced rearmament of Kosovo’s “police” and the launch of compulsory military service by 2028. Everyone is aware that such steps transforming the so-called “Kosovo security forces” into an “army” will also constitute a violation of UN Security Council resolution 1244.

In addition to the above, we have quite a lot of our own questions as to Pristina’s actions. However, we believe it would be more appropriate to discuss them during the April meeting of the Security Council on the activities of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). In these extremely difficult circumstances, efforts of UNMIK are highly demanded, which means that its human resource and financial potential should be maintained and perhaps even increased.

We call on UNSC members to take urgent measures to protect Kosovo Serbs and demand that Pristina cease its crackdown on them, including the lifting of all discriminatory measures. We are convinced that the only way to establish peace on Serbian soil is to elaborate a sustainable, mutually acceptable international legal solution between Belgrade and Pristina on the basis of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244. Such a solution must be in the interests of Belgrade and the Serbian people and must be approved by the UN Security Council.

Thank you.

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