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Russian Patriarch Vows Support For Serbia On Kosovo

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church arrived in Belgrade on November 14 and vowed support for what he called "the Serbs' just stance on Kosovo."

Patriarch Kirill was greeted by a crowd of hundreds, including Serbian Patriarch Irinej and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, when he arrived at Belgrade's airport for a three-day visit.

He arrived on the same day that Serbia, which shares longstanding religious and cultural ties with mostly Slavic, Orthodox Christian Russia, hosted Russian paratroopers in an unprecedented joint military exercise.

Kirill visited the Cathedral of Michael the Archangel and the University of Belgrade.

Accepting an honorary doctorate, he vowed that the Russian Orthodox Church would continue to support Serbia on the issue of Kosovo, whose independence is not recognized by Belgrade.

"We commend the courage of those Serbs who, despite the threat to their own existence, do not leave their ancestral lands," Kirill said.

On November 15, Kirill is scheduled to consecrate a monument to Russia's last tsar and visit a Russian cemetery in Belgrade.

Based on reporting by and TASS