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Kosovo will not affect Russia’s peacekeeping operations

By RIA Novosti

Moscow : Kosovo’s declaration of independence on Sunday will not affect Russian peacekeepers in Georgia’s breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the chief of the General Staff said on Tuesday.

“They will continue to perform their missions in these areas,” Gen. Yury Baluyevsky said.

Kosovo authorities unilaterally declared independence on February 17. The U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Australia, Turkey and Italy have so far recognized Kosovo, while Russia and Spain have condemned the move and refused to acknowledge the Serbian province.

The Russian parliament said in a statement on Monday that the Kosovo precedent gives Russia the right to forge new relationships with self-proclaimed states.

“The declaration of sovereignty by Kosovo and its recognition will undoubtedly be taken into account in [Russia’s] relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement last week.

Leaders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two Georgian breakaway republics which saw bloody conflicts after they declared independence from Georgia in 1991, said that the Kosovo precedent should be taken into account as far as their independence is concerned.