The Kremlin on Thursday rejected a mass application by 50,000 ethnic Serbs from Kosovo for Russian passports, saying the application violated Russian law. Russia will however ‘give them support’ in other ways, said Aleksandr Lukavich, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, at a Moscow briefing.
Moscow, RUSSIA – Thursday, December 1, 2011 / The independent NewsweeK
Serbian activist Zlatibor Djordjevic in mid-November announced in Kosovo he had launched a campaign to obtain Russian citizenship for ethnic Serbs living there.
Russian consulates accepted the applications pending a Foreign Ministry decision on their legality.
National immigration law does not allow the mass application by any national group for Russian citizenship, but the Russian government remains committed to supporting Kosovo’s Serbs, Lukavich said, according to the Interfax news agency.
Russia has already sent humanitarian aid by air to Kosovo’s Serbs and President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered lorries be sent there with additional supplies in the near future, Lukavich said.
Tension has been high between ethnic Serbs and NATO forces
in Kosovo in recent weeks, with the Serbs using small arms and improvised bombs against NATO troops to defend road barricades in the region.
Russia has long portrayed itself as a protector of ethnic Slavs in the Balkan region.
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