Putin orders Russian PM to provide aid to Serbian enclaves in Ko

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Moscow, Mar 24 (UNI) Russian President Vladimir Putin today ordered Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov to provide urgent necessary humanitarian aid to Serbian enclaves in Kosovo.

''When we talk about political issues this is one side of the problem. The other one is the humanitarian aspect. If we mean the humanitarian aspect, we should think that the enclave's population should feel normal irrespective of their nationality,'' Mr Putin said at a government meeting.

''If they need humanitarian aid let us provide it but without any political motivation,'' he said, instructing Mr Zubkov to finalise the issue.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reported to Mr Putin that Serbia's government had approached Moscow with a request for humanitarian aid to ''Serb enclaves'' due to the worsening situation in the last two weeks.

''They are primarily interested in medicine, medical equipment, long-life foods, and hygiene products,'' Mr Lavrov said.

Tensions have been running high in Serb regions of the largely ethnic Albanian province since Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia on February 17.

Kosovo has already been recognised as a sovereign state by the United States and several European Union countries.

Russia has opposed the declaration of independence, saying it would encourage separatism in many countries, including former Soviet republics.

Serbia today marked the ninth anniversary of NATO's bombing campaign which forced former late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw troops from Kosovo.

UNI XC SYU KN2000

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