Russia to send aid to Kosovo’s Serbs

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia will send humanitarian aid to Kosovo’s Serb-populated enclaves in early April, a Russian diplomat said on Monday, saying Moscow had not coordinated the move with the region’s ethnic Albanian leadership.

Moscow joined its ally Belgrade in opposing Kosovo’s independence from Serbia. The United States and most European nations have recognized Kosovo, which has a 90 percent Albanian majority.

Underscoring Russia’s refusal to recognize it as a sovereign state, President Vladimir Putin ordered his government last week to send humanitarian aid to Kosovo’s Serb-populated enclaves after Serbia’s government asked Moscow to do so.

“The flights will be made in the first days of April,” a Russian Foreign Ministry official told Reuters.

Asked with whom Moscow was coordinating the delivery of humanitarian aid, he replied: “With Belgrade. The planes will land in Belgrade.”

Russian news agencies quoted Russian embassy officials in Belgrade as saying the first cargo plane was expected on Wednesday, carrying canned food, baby food, rice and sugar.

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