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Russia foreign minister says international law backs opposition to Kosovo secession

[JURIST] Russia's backing of Serbia in its denunciation of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence [text; JURIST report] last week is in keeping with international law, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov [official profile] said Monday. Lavrov told Vesti 24 [media website] television that Russia is "actively supporting" Serbian efforts to restore the breakaway region to Serbian control and criticized other nations for recognizing Kosovo as a sovereign state, insisting that it would set a dangerous precedent for other regional conflicts around the world. RIA Novosti has more.

Last Monday, the United States and several key European Union powers formally recognized Kosovo [JURIST report]. The Serbian government immediately denounced the unilateral declaration as illegal [press release]. The Serbian Interior Ministry has filed treason charges [JURIST report] against Kosovo's prime minister, president and speaker of parliament for their roles in organizing the declaration of independence. Last Wednesday, Russia condemned [JURIST report] a decision [press release, PDF] by the European Union [official website] to send a task force of police, prosecutors and judges into Kosovo [JURIST news archive] to support the rule of law there after the expiry of the current UN mandate.

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