Russia extends peacekeeper mission

MOSCOW, Jun 8, 2000 -- (Reuters) Russia's upper house of parliament voted on Wednesday to keep the country's peacekeepers in Kosovo, despite threats by some officials that Moscow would withdraw its troops due to attacks on local Serbs.

The Federation Council, empowered to approve the dispatch of troops abroad, voted to extend the term of the peacekeeping mission to December 10 this year. It was due to end on June 9.

The head of Russia's advisory Security Council, Sergei Ivanov, said in February Russia could consider withdrawing its troops if the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force did not do more to prevent attacks by ethnic Albanians on the Serb population.

The Foreign Ministry has also expressed worries that KFOR is not doing enough to stop violence in the region.

Russia's peacekeepers have come under attack in Kosovo, once when anti-tank rockets were fired into their base.

Russia opposed NATO's 11-week air raid campaign against Yugoslavia and has been one of President Slobodan Milosevic's few allies. Russia's troops joined the KFOR force after Moscow helped broker an end to the air strike campaign.

Original article