Ukraine starts pullout of peacekeepers from Kosovo, says report

Wednesday, 03 Aug 2022 11:14 PM MYT

BELGRADE, Aug 3 —Ukraine will start the pullout of its peacekeepers from the Nato-led mission in Kosovo, the RBK-Ukraine news portal reported today citing sources from Ukraine’s military command.

Ukraine currently maintains a contingent of 40 peacekeepers in Kosovo as part of the 3,800-strong Nato-led ‘KFOR’ mission, but in March President Volodymyr Zelenskiy issued a decree ordering all missions to return home to assist in the war with Russia.

“The return of the (Ukrainian) national contingent will mean the temporary termination of its participation in the KFOR mission,” RBK-Ukraine quoted remarks from Ukraine’s army command as saying.

It also said that the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from Kosovo is in line with Zelenskiy’s March 7 decree ordering missions to come home following Russia’s invasion on Feb 24.

KFOR officials in Kosovo could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Nato peacekeeping mission deployed to Kosovo in 1999 after alliance’s 78-day bombing campaign forced Serbian troops to end their crackdown against Albanians in the now-independent Kosovo, formerly a southern province of Serbia.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, and is recognised by over 100 countries, but not by others, including Ukraine, five European Union member countries, Russia and China.

The government in Belgrade, which remains opposed to Kosovo’s independence, recognises Ukraine in its entirety and has three times condemned the Russian invasion in the UN.

But Serbia, which is almost completely dependant on Russian gas, also refuses to join sanctions against Moscow. — Reuters