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Russia refuses to recognize new Kosovo constitution

[JURIST] Russia will not recognize the new Kosovar constitution [text] because it is illegal, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation announced [press release, in Russian] Monday. The Assembly of Kosovo [official website] adopted the constitution in April, and the EU later certified it [JURIST reports] as guaranteeing the individual and community rights of all its citizens. The constitution went into effect Sunday [JURIST report]. Officials at the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the constitution violates international law [UN Resolution 1244 text] because it states Kosovo's intention to separate from the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) [official website], which Russian authorities say is supposed to be present in Kosovo's administration. Ignoring this law rather than changing it with the support of the UN and the countries involved will lead to "negative consequences for the region's security and international stability," foreign ministry officials wrote. Reuters has more.

Kosovo [JURIST news archive] is overwhelmingly populated by ethnic Albanians with only a small minority of Serbs remaining, mostly in the north [JURIST report]. Serb troops withdrew from the region following NATO's 1999 bombing campaign. The Kosovo region was then controlled by an interim UN administration, and the country unilaterally declared independence [declaration text; JURIST report] in February 2008. The US and most European states have recognized the new state of Kosovo, but Serbia and Russia, Serbia's closest ally, have refused to recognize the country. Kosovo Serbs claim they will set up their own assembly within Kosovo by June 28 to protect their rights.

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