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Russia, Serbia discuss aid to Kosovo

 Russia and Serbia will soon agree on a humanitarian aid package for crisis-hit areas of Kosovo in line with a request from the Serbian government, Russia's ambassador to Belgrade said on Tuesday.

Alexander Alekseev told RIA Novosti: "There is a very substantial need for humanitarian aid," in particular medicine and food.

"Goods will be delivered to the whole of Kosovo's territory, not just to the north of the province," he said.

President Vladimir Putin authorized aid measures to Kosovo on Monday at a Cabinet meeting.

Tensions have been escalating in Serb regions of the largely ethnic Albanian province since Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia on February 17. Rioters clashed with peacekeepers last week in the city of Mitrovica in northern Kosovo, leaving one Ukrainian police officer dead and dozens of civilians and peacekeepers wounded.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the president that Serbia's government had approached Moscow with a request for humanitarian aid to 'Serb enclaves' due to the worsening situation over the past two weeks.

"They are primarily interested in medicine, medical equipment, long-life foods, and hygiene products," he said.

Kosovo, with a 90% ethnic Albanian majority, has been recognized as a sovereign state by the United States, most European Union members, and several other countries. Russia has sided with Belgrade, which says Kosovo will always remain a part of its territory.

RIA Novosti

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