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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

President: Macedonia Rages Out Of Control

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President Vladimir Putin said Monday that clashes between ethnic Albanian gunmen and security forces in Macedonia were spiraling out of control and urged the international community to act to end the violence.

"The situation is gradually getting out of control. Both the countries of the region and Russia are worried about this fact," Putin said in televised comments.

Putin, alarmed by attacks by Albanian insurgents in southern Serbia and northern Macedonia, on Sunday dispatched his Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov to Yugoslavia, Macedonia and Albania.

Ivanov on Monday delivered a letter from Putin to Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica that urged concerted action against Albanian insurgents.

Ivanov told reporters after meeting with Kostunica that "the international community must say clearly that today in southern Serbia and in Macedonia there is aggression by international terrorism."

He accused ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, the Serbian province administered by NATO and the United Nations, of being the source of the instability that has spread east and south of Kosovo.

Kostunica said he and Ivanov talked mostly about what they view as the region's No. 1 problem: "terrorism."

Ivanov said the world's nations and the international community as a whole must decide "which side they support — the side of those who want to build a democratic multiethnic Yugoslavia" or those "who spread ethnic divisions and bring death to the people of Yugoslavia."

He insisted that the democratically elected government in Belgrade and ethnic Albanian rebels must not be treated equally.

Kostunica said he had received the personal message from Putin that will be "carefully reviewed."

The letter did not make clear under what circumstances Putin is ready to support a military operation.

But Interfax quoted a senior Defense Ministry official as saying Moscow favored an operation to comb Kosovo for illegal arms. (Reuters, AP)