Russia-Serbia gas deal “show of support on Kosovo”

UFA, Russia – A deal to bring Serbia into Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline project was a show of support for Belgrade over Kosovo, Dmitry Medvedev, the man likely to be elected Russia’s new president, said on Tuesday.

Medvedev traveled to Belgrade on Monday to agree on a schedule for construction of the pipeline. Russia backs Belgrade in opposing to Kosovo’s independence.

The gas deal was intended to show “our support, moral, material and economic, for a state which is in a very difficult position, a state which unfortunately, by the will of a number of other states, has had its territorial integrity put in doubt,” Medvedev said.

“Measures are being taken to break it up into pieces. I mean of course the Kosovo problem,” Medvedev said on a visit to Ufa, in the Ural mountains region of Bashkortostan.

“We of course cannot stand by and watch. We have expressed our position long ago. It has not changed,” said Medvedev, a first deputy prime minister who is expected to win Sunday’s presidential election.

“We are categorically against the act of unilateral recognition of Kosovo, we believe it is an abuse of existing principles. These actions go against the existing system of international law, the United Nations charter and a mass of other international conventions.”

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