CEOL
Russia might withdraw its troops from Kosovo, says Ivanov

MOSCOW, Feb 26, 2000 -- (AFP) Russia might withdraw its troops from NATO's KFOR peacekeeping force in Kosovo in protest at the way it is operated, Russian Security Council chief Sergei Ivanov said via the Interfax news agency.

"A thought comes to mind: should we maintain the presence of the Russian contingent and spend valuable public money to be spectators," Ivanov said.

"We have a number of grievances" regarding the international peacekeeping operation in Kosovo, he said, adding that the province was in the process of losing its multi-national character.

Of 800 deaths in the past six months, 700 were Serbs, Ivanov noted.

Russia said Wednesday that KFOR and the UN mission in Kosovo were incapable of ending violence in the region or guaranteeing even minimal security for the Serb population.

Moscow also protested the announcement by NATO of KFOR military exercises in March, to which Russia was not invited.

Some 3,600 Russian soldiers are currently taking part in KFOR operations.




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