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Russian Aid Stuck At Kosovo Border In Row With EU

A truck carring Russian aid cross the border between Serbia and northern Kosovo in Jarinje on December 13.
A Russian aid convoy is stuck on the border between Serbia and Kosovo.

The Russian convoy of some 25 trucks is carrying 300 tons of humanitarian aid for ethnic Serbs in Kosovo.

It was halted by EU customs officers late on December 13 when it tried to enter Kosovo through a disputed border gate at Jarinje in the north.

Russia's ambassador to Serbia, Aleksandr Konuzin, visited Jarinje and criticized the halting of the convoy.

"This is a humanitarian operation, and the convoy has been blocked purely for political reasons," he said.

"The EU mission is in effect blackmailing us, refusing to let the convoy through and putting forward conditions that are not acceptable either to the Russian side or the Serb side."

ITAR-TASS reported that the cargo consisted of 284 tons of aid, including blankets, food products, kitchen utensils, and furniture.

The border gate is one of two crossings at the heart of a dispute that started in July, when Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci sent special police units there only to see them repelled by armed Serbs.

The EU's police and justice mission in Kosovo, EULEX, said the aid convoy must either accept a EULEX escort, meaning Serbs will have to open the roads to the mission, or the aid must come through a different border crossing fully controlled by the Pristina government.

compiled from agency reports