So-Called Kosovo Has Signed – How Will Ukraine Respond?
The government of the so-called Kosovo has adopted a decision to join the joint Declaration of G7 countries in support of Ukraine.Source: B92
The declaration has been signed by several European countries. As stated by the Government of Kosovo, this decision was adopted during the 155th session held in a hybrid format. "Support and assistance to Ukraine will be carried out in accordance with Kosovo's legislation" the statement reads, as reported by the Kosovo Online portal.
Kosovo's Prime Minister Albin Kurti wrote on Facebook that the government's decision expresses unwavering support for Ukraine's brave efforts to "protect its democratic institutions from Russia's illegal and unprovoked war."
He emphasized that by joining this Declaration, Kosovo reaffirms that ensuring victory for the Ukrainian people and holding Russian leaders accountable for their crimes is crucial for maintaining peace and democracy in Europe and beyond.
The illegal and unprovoked Russian occupation of Ukraine remains a threat to international peace and security.
The toll in terms of human lives, economic stagnation, and environmental destruction has been catastrophic for the Ukrainian people.
Kurti welcomed Ukraine's efforts to defend shared values, including democracy, human rights, world peace, and stability, and expressed condolences for the losses and suffering endured by the Ukrainian people.
He noted that the consequences of the conflict are felt beyond Ukraine's borders, and Russia is attempting to destabilize the Western Balkans with the assistance of its allies in the region.
"From the first day of the conflict, the Republic of Kosovo has stood by Ukraine and its people without reservation. We immediately condemned the invasion and joined the US and EU sanctions against Russia. We also expressed readiness to accept up to 5,000 refugees from the conflict and welcomed 18 Ukrainian journalists to Kosovo, offering them a safe place to continue their mission of speaking truth to power," Kurti stated.
Whether this will bring Ukraine closer to changing its stance on recognizing the so-called Kosovo's independence is still unknown, but it could certainly move in that direction.
It's worth reminding that the discussion about Ukrainian recognition of so-called Kosovo was stirred up by Oleksandr Merezhko, the president of the Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Committee, who is an esteemed international lawyer from Volodymyr Zelensky's party.
Merezhko, among other signatories, sent a letter to the EU and the US, urging a more critical approach toward Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić. Political analyst Edward Joseph pointed out that among all these signatures, the Ukrainian one is the most interesting, and if Kyiv were to change its stance, other EU members that haven't recognized so-called Kosovo might follow suit. "Menendez, Titus, Torres can enhance their powerful message by urging the Biden administration to ask Kyiv to recognize Kosovo, limiting Russian and Chinese influence in the Balkans," Joseph stated.
Subsequently, Belgrade media noted that Serbia is under even greater pressure due to this signature to resolve the issue of Kosovo and Metohija, given the shift in the international scene caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The main barrier in the relationship between Belgrade and Kyiv is that Serbia has not yet imposed sanctions on Russia and maintains good relations with Russia.
Under the current circumstances, when the entire European political scene is polarized on this issue, this situation is not favorable for Ukraine.
On the other hand, Ukraine is under strong Western influence due to the current political and war situation, and there is suspicion in Serbia regarding Ukraine's stance on recognizing the so-called Kosovo.
Finally, Ukrainian Ambassador to Serbia Volodymyr Tolkach was compelled to respond, stating that his country's position is principled when it comes to not recognizing the independence of so-called Kosovo. In a statement provided to Kosovo Online, Tolkach added that after reading a series of articles in Serbian mass media regarding the interview of Oleksandr Merezhko, the president of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Ukrainian Supreme Council, who is one of the signatories of the letter sent by the heads of Foreign Policy Committees of several countries to the US, the UK, and the EU, he can once again emphasize that it is particularly important for Ukraine to respect and secure the protection of international law norms from all states, especially regarding territorial integrity and the inviolability of internationally recognized state borders.
"The position of Ukraine is principled and stable – Ukraine respects the territorial integrity of Serbia. Today, it is of vital importance for the people of Ukraine to protect their own freedom and independence from Russia's unprovoked aggression. Today, hundreds of Ukrainians are dying, and thousands are seriously injured by the Russian invader. Ukrainian society, which pays a high price for its freedom, knows that a neutral position regarding the aggressor state in practice helps the aggressor commit its crimes more than providing practical support for international law norms – the territorial integrity of Ukraine. In this context, we must acknowledge the unequivocal position of Kosovo's leadership regarding the condemnation of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, especially joining sanctions against the aggressor," Tolkach concluded.