Back in Kosovo, meanwhile, Russian troops continue to encounter some rough sledding. Yesterday approximately 1,000 ethnic Albanians marched toward a Russian base in the southeastern town of Kosovska Kamenica to protest the presence of Russian KFOR troops in the area. U.S. troops reportedly monitored the demonstrators from overhead in Apache helicopters. The demonstration ended without incident (AP, August 5). Kosovska Kamenica is located in the U.S. sector of Kosovo, the only area in which Russian troops have said that they are operating smoothly with the NATO host country.
In an unexpected turnaround, another report from Kosovska Kamenica suggested yesterday that ethnic Serbs in Kosovo may also be growing dissatisfied with the performance of Russian troops in the region. According to the report, the failure of Russian troops to protect ethnic Serbs in Kosovska Kamenica has engendered local anti-Russian sentiment. One villager was quoted as saying that the Russians do nothing but sit behind their checkpoints and oil their engines. A Canadian doctor of Serbian extraction working in Kosovska Kamenica said that the local Serbs had been waiting with high hopes for the Russian troops, but that the situation in fact “only got worse” once they arrived (Daily Telegraph, August 5).
Russia was scheduled this week to complete its deployment of some 3,600 troops to Kosovo. Relations between the Russian paratroopers and Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians, already tense, worsened considerably over the past week following an incident in which a Russian patrol briefly detained a high-ranking general of the Kosovo Liberation Army (see the Monitor, August 4).
RUSSIAN AND U.S. DEFENSE CHIEFS OUTLINE COOPERATION EFFORTS.