Hashim Thaci, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, has strongly rejected claims that the secession of Crimea from Ukraine follows a pattern set by Kosovo’s own secession from Serbia.
By Edona PECI/
“Under no circumstances can the cases of Kosovo and Crimea be compared,” Prime Minister Thaci told the online magazine Business New Europe.
Referring to Russia’s union with Crimea on March 18, Thaci said the situation could not be compared to Kosovo, “either in its legal, political or historical circumstances.
“We didn’t change any borders, we had our borders already,” he said, referring to Kosovo’s borders as an autonomous province inside former Yugoslavia.
“Kosovo was also created after a genocide was committed by Serbia, after the deportation of 1 million citizens of Kosovo, which was done by Serbia,” he added.
“Kosovo’s independence was created after negotiations which followed the war,” he added. “Therefore, comparisons between the Kosovo and Crimea case are not sustainable at all,” he concluded.
The Prime Minister spoke out after Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, claimed that the Western powers had created a precedent in Kosovo, which Russia had only followed in regard to Crimea.
“In a situation absolutely the same as the one in Crimea they [the West] recognized Kosovo’s secession from Serbia as legitimate, arguing that no permission from a country’s central authority for a unilateral declaration of independence is necessary,” Putin said on Tuesday.
Milorad Dodik, President of the Republika Srpska, meanwhile added to the confusion by claiming that whereas the secession of Crimea from Ukraine was lawful, that of Kosovo from Serbia in 2008 was not.
“Had Kosovo followed the procedures observed by Crimea, I would gladly say that this was the people’s right to self-determination because I want to affirm this right for all peoples and nations,” the Bosnian Serb leader said.
Since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, it has been recognized by 107 out of 193 UN member states, including the US and most EU members. However, Russia has always opposed recognition of Kosovo’s statehood, arguing that it was illegal.
On Sunday, 96.8 per cent of people who voted in Sunday’s referendum in Crimea backed calls to join the Russian Federation.
Western countries have harshly condemned what they call an act of aggression, calling for EU sanctions to be placed on Russia.
Western governments say ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine and Crimea have faced no threat from the new authorities in Kiev that would justify Russian armed intervention or a change to Ukraine’s borders.