Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 117

Russian lawmakers, meanwhile, continued to criticize the West for its policy toward Kosovo. An appeal adopted by the State Duma yesterday called on the parliaments and governments of European states “to prevent another war in the Balkans” by pursuing a settlement based on “respect for both the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yugoslavia and the rights of the Albanian population in Kosovo.” That relatively even-handed statement, however, was balanced by the Duma’s professed concern over “the openly tendentious policy of some Western countries, which are trying to lay all the blame for the current situation” on Belgrade authorities. They charged that threatening Yugoslav authorities with sanctions or the use of military force is tantamount to supporting separatism and is “highly dangerous in the current political situation.”

The appeal to the West over Kosovo had been introduced in the Duma by Aleksei Mitrofanov, chairman of the Duma’s Geopolitics Committee and a member of ultra-nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Democratic Party. In remarks to reporters, Zhirinovsky himself called on the Russian government to show greater toughness in its approach to Kosovo. He also said that Russian leaders should make clear to the West that the bombing of Serbia by NATO could bring Russian “volunteers” to serve with and to protect their “Serb brothers.” (Itar-Tass, June 17)