Moscow threatens to leave KFOR if YU dismembered

MOSCOW, May 12, 2000 -- (AFP) Russia will withdraw from the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force in Kosovo if Yugoslavia's territorial integrity is threatened, deputy chief of staff General Valery Manilov warned Thursday.

"Russia will not be an accomplice in the disintegration of Yugoslavia," Manilov said, quoted by Interfax news agency.

Russia will continue to play a role in KFOR "as long as there is the slightest chance of implementing UN resolution 1244", he said. The resolution, which mandates KFOR's presence, stipulates that Kosovo is part of Yugoslavia.

"If our participation contributes to the dislocation of Yugoslavia, a political decision could be taken to end our activities within KFOR," he said.

There are some 3,600 Russian soldiers in the 40,000-strong KFOR force, which has been deployed in Kosovo since June last year following the end of the NATO airwar.

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