Russia is “closely monitoring” the tense situation in Kosovo

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin said on Monday it was closely monitoring what it called a “potentially dangerous” situation in Kosovo, where ethnic Serb gunmen stormed a village over the weekend, fought police and barricaded themselves in a monastery.

Russia does not recognize Kosovo, whose population is predominantly Albanian, as an independent country and has traditionally supported Serbia, with which it has close religious and cultural ties.

“The situation is extremely difficult. In Kosovo we observe a traditionally biased attitude towards the Serbs… The situation is very, very tense and potentially dangerous, we are watching it very closely,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said at a regular press conference.

Kosovo police forces recaptured the monastery late Sunday after three attackers and a police officer were killed. They secured the village in northern Kosovo on Monday.

Ethnic Albanians make up the vast majority of the 1.8 million residents of Kosovo, a former province of Serbia.

But some 50,000 Serbs in the north never accepted Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence and still consider Belgrade their capital, more than two decades after an uprising by Kosovo Albanian guerrillas against repressive Serbian rule.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Gareth Jones; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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