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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

WHAT THE PAPERS SAY: Now KLA vs. Russia?




In the Kosovo escapade, Yeltsin relied exclusively on the generals, in essence handing over to them the dialogue with the West. The first experience of the generals' peacekeeping efforts suggests that Russia faces the same fate as the 200 paratroopers in Pristina: one against all. ...


Yesterday, the leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army, (according to Albanian sources, it numbers about 70,000 men; according to Western assessments, up to 15,000), who is the premier of the self-styled provisional government, Khashim Tachi, called the presence of the Russian contingent in Kosovo "a serious violation of Kosovo's integrity," a "provocation" which may result in serious conflicts. He stressed in an interview to the newspaper "Koha Ditore," which yesterday resumed publication in Pristina, that the "provisional government" would not allow the replacement of Serbian forces with Russian [forces] in Kosovo. For their part, Yugoslav generals, who were cheered up by the march of the Russian soldiers to Pristina, do not tire of stating their readiness to return to Kosovo at any moment: the Serbs are located only five kilometers from the border.


Leaving the question of the security of the Russian soldiers to the General Staff, it is high time we asked Yeltsin, who has done much to stop the bombings in Yugoslavia: Does the generals' peacekeeping contribute to peace? Doesn't the Kremlin have the impression that the Russian battalion in Kosovo is not only the detonator for a new war (this time on the ground), but the building material for the erection of a Berlin wall - both in Kosovo and, prospectively, around Russia?


Segodnya, June 16


Deployment Legal


Russia, which from the beginning had insisted on its own sector and independence from the NATO command for its peacekeepers in the autonomous province, has now obtained [it] de facto ... a couple of hundred Russian soldiers are controlling the only functioning airport near Pristina, and they are under Moscow's command.


From the legal point of view, the introduction of Russian forces looks absolutely correct. Three days of consultations among the G-8 foreign ministers early last week resulted in a resolution which was later approved by the UN Security Council, in which the character of the peacekeeping operation was outlined only in general terms. The Russian delegation considered this ... the basis for further bargaining. The West decided not to bargain, but Russia, in sending troops into Kosovo, formally did not violate any legal norms, and even, to the contrary, fulfilled the appeal in the resolution for all members of the UN to take an active part in a Kosovo settlement.


It is probable that the legal soundness of Russia's position has forced the West to work out new scenarios ... The New York Times said Washington is discussing the possibility that Russian soldiers will be commanded by a general from a country which does not belong to NATO but which is loyal to the Alliance - Finland, let's say. If this happens, the Russian contingent may disregard the orders of NATO but it will not be able to prevent NATO forces from fulfilling these orders on the territory occupied by Russian peacekeepers.


Vremya MN, June 15