Russia in Review: The Kremlin’s Block in the Balkans

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Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Russia in Review is a weekly intelligence summary (INTSUM) produced by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). This ISW INTSUM series sheds light on key trends and developments related to the Russian government’s objectives and its efforts to secure them. Receive future Russia in Review INTSUM products via-email by signing up for the ISW mailing list.

Authors: Nataliya Bugayova and Anthony Yanchuk

Key Takeaway: The Kremlin is increasing its influence in Serbia in support of Russia’s strategic objective – preventing the Balkan states from integrating with the West. The Kremlin secured new security and economic deals with Serbia. The Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) signed a free trade agreement with Serbia. Russia is launching new infrastructure and energy projects, including a nuclear research center. Russia has sold Serbia advanced air defense systems and signed several agreements with Serbian law enforcement agencies. The Kremlin is also using its information operations to undermine the normalization of the relationship between Serbia and Kosovo. The normalization talks have stalled for over a year now, which precludes either Kosovo or Serbia from joining the European Union (EU). The Kremlin is facing some pushback to its efforts in the Balkans, including its attempts to further deepen military cooperation with Serbia and expand the EEU in the Balkans. These setbacks reveal the limitations of Russia’s value proposition – even to its close partners – and provide an opportunity for the West to counter the Kremlin’s subversion.

The Kremlin is raising the threshold of its military cooperation with Serbia, where Russia likely seeks to establish a military footprint in the long term. Russia deployed Pantsir and S-400 air defense systems to Serbia during the “Slavic Shield-2019” joint exercises from October 24-27.[1] This deployment marked the first time Russia used these systems in military exercises outside of Russia and Crimea, Ukraine (illegally occupied by Russia).[2] Serbia purchased the Pantsir system from Russia following the drills, which Russia says it will deliver in coming months.[3] Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic expressed his desire on December 2 to buy the more advanced S-400, but complained about the system’s high cost.[4] Russia likely seeks to use military exercises and sales of advanced weapons to set conditions for a long-term Russian military presence in Serbia. A strategic Russian military position in Serbia would be an inflection. It would enable Russia to pressure NATO from within its geographical boundaries and to block Balkan states’ integration with the EU – an objective of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Kremlin’s outreach in Serbia also supports a wider effort to expand Russia’s military footprint through the deployment of additional S-400 systems. Russia has advanced this effort this year in the Arctic, and in Kaliningrad. Russia has also boosted sales of the S-400 to other countries, including U.S. partners Turkey (a NATO member) and India.[5] Russia will also likely use joint air defense drills like “Slavic Shield” to market its air defense systems to other countries.

Western actions and exposed Russian influence campaigns in Serbia are likely slowing the Kremlin’s recent push to expand its military ties with Serbia. Vucic walked back his statement regarding a future S-400 purchase. He said on December 3 that Serbia will stop buying arms and refocus on modernizing its military.[6] Vucic’s statement might have been a result of the U.S. cautioning Serbia against buying the S-400, citing a “risk” of sanctions.[7] Vucic also said on December 7 that he “could not confirm” Serbia’s plans to jointly produce military equipment with Russia – contradicting a December 4 statement by the Serbian ambassador to Russia who said that Russia and Serbia had plans for joint production of weapons.[8] Vucic continues to attempt to balance between Russia and the West.

Covert Russian efforts to court Serbian military officials have also been exposed recently, straining Serbian-Russian ties. Serbian investigators stated on November 21 that former Russian Assistant Military Attaché to Serbia Lt. Col Georgy Kleban bribed Serbian military officials.[9] Vucic later confirmed the allegations.[10]

Putin attempted to smooth over tensions during his meeting with Vucic on Dec 4.[11] Russia delivered four Mi-35M helicopters on December 2 previously purchased by Serbia ahead of schedule, likely to set favorable conditions before the meeting.[12] Putin also assured Vucic that Russia would support Serbia’s energy needs.[13] Serbia currently depends on Russian gas supplies.[14] Russia will likely continue pushing for an S-400 deal if only to increase acceptance for lower profile Russian activities in Serbia, such as the sale of Pantsir systems and other types of military support.

Russia is simultaneously expanding its influence over Serbian law enforcement using the umbrella of counter-terrorism cooperation. Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic signed two agreements on November 20 to fight organized crime and terrorism.[15] The Serbian Ministry of Justice signed a cooperation agreement with the Russian Prosecutor General office to expand Russian-Serbian judicial cooperation on cybersecurity, drug trafficking, and accelerated criminal proceedings on September 27.[16] The Kremlin is using cooperation on counter-terrorism, cybersecurity, and drug trafficking – areas in which Russia is often a malign actor – as a means to pull countries into Kremlin-led partnerships and narratives, as well as to expand influence over the bureaucracies of its partner states.

The Kremlin is expanding the range of economic instruments it uses in its campaign to prevent the Balkan states’ integration with Western economic structures.

The Kremlin is attempting to expand the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) in the Balkans. Serbia and the EEU signed a free trade agreement (FTA) on October 25.[17] The EU would require Serbia to nullify the FTA to obtain full membership in the EU.[18] The EU warned Serbia of this condition prior to the signing of the FTA with Russia.[19] Serbia is not the EEU’s only target. Russia invited Albania and North Macedonia to sign FTA agreements with the EEU after French President Emmanuel Macron blocked Albania’s and North Macedonia’s EU membership talks on October 30.[20] Northern Macedonia declined Russia’s offer and Albania reaffirmed its commitment to the EU.[21]

The Kremlin will also likely leverage the new free-travel zone between Serbia, Albania, and North Macedonia to expand its influence in Albania and North Macedonia through Serbia. The three countries signed an agreement to create a “mini-Schengen” on October 10 that emulates the European Schengen Zone and allows the free movement of capital, goods, services, and people across national borders.[22] Officials in Kosovo – which shares borders with the three states – warned that the “mini-Schengen” enables Russian and Chinese influence in the Balkans.[23]

The Kremlin is unlikely to sway the Balkans away from their EU aspirations through the EEU, but Russia will attempt to expand the EEU’s geopolitical weight. The EEU’s value proposition remains limited. The EU is the Balkans states’ main trading partner. Serbia sells $13 billion in goods to the EU annually, compared to $1.1 billion in goods sold to the EEU.[24] The economic benefits of this FTA for Serbia are also nominal.[25] Serbia already had free trade agreements with three of the five EEU members.[26] The Kremlin, however, is using FTAs as a vehicle to expand the EEU, as Russia’s initial push to engage countries through formal membership failed.[27] The EEU signed an FTA with Singapore, began preferential trade with Iran in October 2019, and is negotiating future FTAs with numerous countries.[28]

Russia is expanding its influence over Serbian infrastructure and energy. Russian Railways signed a $230 million deal with Serbia on October 19 to modernize rail from Belgrade to the border with Montenegro and to build a rail logistics center.[29] Russia will provide Serbia with $179 million in credits to finance these projects. Russian Railways may also take over the management of a portion of Serbian railways through a future concession agreement. Several Russian companies producing railway and automotive equipment plan to localize production in Serbia.[30] Russia is additionally expanding its energy ties in Serbia. Russia’s state atomic energy corporation Rosatom signed an agreement in October to build a nuclear research center in Serbia.[31] The research center will host a reactor and labs to train specialists on nuclear energy.[32] The Kremlin is engaged in a global effort to cultivate nuclear energy markets. Rosatom signed multiple similar agreements with African countries this year.[33] Rosatom likely aims to secure a deal to build a nuclear power plant in Serbia. Rosatom is currently building numerous power plants in Europe, including in Finland and Hungary. Russia likely seeks to make Serbia more dependent on Russian products and services, and expand its physical presence in Serbia through infrastructure projects.

The Kremlin is boosting Serbia’s campaign to deny the legal status of Kosovo in the information space. Russia maintains a stake in preventing diplomatic normalization between Serbia and Kosovo that could enable one or both of them to join the EU. The Kosovo-Serbia peace talks have stalled for more than a year.[34] American and European officials have stated that Serbia must recognize Kosovo’s independence in order to join the EU.[35]

The Kremlin supports Serbia’s campaign to frame Kosovo as an illegitimate entity. Russian officials called Kosovo a “quasi-state entity” on September 5 and added that the “growing number of countries, which revoked recognition of Kosovo’s ‘independence,’ confirms this [status as a ‘quasi-state entity’].”[36] Kremlin-run media outlets also amplify often inaccurate reports from Serbian officials about additional countries’ withdrawals of recognition of Kosovo.[37] The Kremlin has long opposed the independence of Kosovo as an “illegal unilateral action” imposed by NATO on Serbia in 1999.[38] The Kremlin also likely fears that recognition of Kosovo would embolden similar independence claims by autonomous regions in Russia in the long term.

The West should counter the Kremlin’s efforts to curb the Balkan states’ aspirations to integrate with the EU and NATO. The Kremlin will continue to use a diverse toolkit, including economic influence (especially energy) and its information operations, to undermine progress towards normalization between Serbia and Kosovo and hinder the EU and NATO in the Balkans. Russia’s recent outreach in Serbia, however, demonstrates the limitations of the Russian value proposition. It also demonstrates that the West has more leverage than it often perceives to curb the Kremlin’s subversive efforts.


[1] “Russia, Serbia Follow ‘Slavic Shield’ With Second Joint Military Drill,” The Moscow Times, November 11, 2019, https://www.themoscowtimes(.)com/2019/11/01/russia-serbia-follow-slavic-shield-with-second-joint-military-drill-a68000; “Crimean air defense troops start drills with S-400 missile systems,” TASS, February 8, 2019, https(:)//tass.com/defense/1043788.
[2] [“S-400 division and a ‘Pantsir-S’ battery of the Russian Aerospace Forces are transferred to Serbia, where they will take part for the first time in exercises in the territory of a foreign state,”] Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, October 24, 2019, https://function.mil(.)ru/news_page/country/more.htm?id=12258382@egNews.
[3] “Serbia To Receive Russian Antiaircraft Missiles Despite U.S. Sanctions Risk,” Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, November 7, 2019, https://www.rferl.org/a/serbia-to-receive-russian-anti-aircraft-missiles-despite-u-s-sanctions-risk/30257307.html.
[4] “Serbia To Receive Russian Antiaircraft Missiles Despite U.S. Sanctions Risk,” Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, November 7, 2019, https://www.rferl.org/a/serbia-to-receive-russian-anti-aircraft-missiles-despite-u-s-sanctions-risk/30257307.html; [“Serbia expressed interest in purchasing S-400,”] Izvestia, December 2, 2019, https://iz(.)ru/949683/2019-12-02/v-serbii-vyrazili-zainteresovannost-v-pokupke-s-400. Aleksandar Vasovic, “Serbia faces risk of U.S. sanctions over Russian arms deal,” Reuters, November 8, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-serbia-usa-sanctions/serbia-faces-risk-of-u-s-sanctions-over-russian-arms-deal-idUSKBN1XI199; “Serbia gives up purchase of S-400 systems over threat of US sanctions,” TASS, November 6, 2019, https://tass(.)com/defense/1087242.
[5] Jeremy Chin, “Russia Deploys Fourth S-400 Battalion in Crimea,” Missile Threat: CSIS Missile Defense Project, November 29, 2018 https://missilethreat.csis.org/russia-deploys-s-400-air-defense-system-battalion-in-crimea/; “Russia deploys a battery of S-400 missile systems in Kaliningrad region,” UAWIRE, March 16, 2019, https://uawire(.)org/russian-deploys-a-battery-of-s-400-missile-systems-in-kaliningrad-region; [“The Ministry of Defense Deployed S-300 Missile System to the Afghan Border,”] RBK, October 26, 2019, https://www.rbc(.)ru/politics/26/10/2019/5db412c19a7947180b68e72c; Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, “India’s plan for S-400 gets boost from Turkey’s defiance on US sanctions,” The Economic Times, June 25, 2019, https://economictimes.indiatimes(.)com/news/defence/indias-plan-for-s-400-gets-boost-from-turkeys-defiance-on-us-sanctions/articleshow/69932396.cms?from=mdr.
[6] Maja Zivanovic, “Serbia to Stop Buying Weapons, President Says,” Balkan Insight, December 3, 2019, https://balkaninsight.com/2019/12/03/serbia-to-stop-buying-weapons-president-says/.
[7] Aleksandar Vasovic, “Serbia faces risk of U.S. sanctions over Russian arms deal,” Reuters, November 8, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-serbia-usa-sanctions/serbia-faces-risk-of-u-s-sanctions-over-russian-arms-deal-idUSKBN1XI199; “US cautions Serbia against acquiring ‘significant Russian military systems,’” The Defense Post, November 10, 2019, https://thedefensepost(.)com/2019/11/10/us-serbia-russia-military-systems-pantsir-s-400/.
[8] “Serbia: Vucic denied joint production of weapons with Russia,” Nuova Europa, December 7, 2019, http://www.ansa(.)it/nuova_europa/en/news/sections/politics/2019/12/07/serbia-vucic-denied-joint-production-of-weapons-with-russia_69cf1a66-e74e-4b78-9dbb-062e560472e2.html; “Serbia Exploring Possibility of Purchasing Russian MC-21,” Sputnik News, December 6, 2019, https://sputniknews(.)com/military/201912061077494387-serbia-exploring-possibility-of-purchasing-russian-mc-21/; [“RTV (Serbia): what did the meeting between Putin and Vučić bring to Serbia?”] Inosmi, December 8, 2019, http://www.inosmi(.)info/rtv-serbiya-chto-prinesla-serbii-vstrecha-putina-i-vuchicha.html.
[9] Aleksandar Vasovic, “Serbia’s president accuses Russia of spying,” Reuters, November 21, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-serbia-russia-intelligence-kremlin/serbias-president-accuses-russia-of-spying-idUSKBN1XV129.
[10] “Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vucic confirms Russian spy operation after bribe video,” DW, November 21, 2019, https://www.dw(.)com/en/serbias-president-aleksandar-vucic-confirms-russian-spy-operation-after-bribe-video/a-51359672
[11] [“Vladimir Putin in Sochi receives President of Serbia Alexander Vucic,”] First Channel, December 4, 2019, https://www.1tv(.)ru/news/2019-12-04/376834-vladimir_putin_v_sochi_prinimaet_prezidenta_serbii_aleksandra_vuchicha.
[12] [“Vuchich thanked Russia for the early delivery of Mi-35 helicopters,”] RIA Novosti, December 4, 2019, https://ria(.)ru/20191204/1561944054.html; Maja Zivanovic, “Serbia to Stop Buying Weapons, President Says,” Balkan Insight, December 3, 2019, https://balkaninsight.com/2019/12/03/serbia-to-stop-buying-weapons-president-says/.
[13] [“RTV (Serbia): what did the meeting between Putin and Vučić bring to Serbia?”] Inosmi, December 8, 2019, http://www.inosmi(.)info/rtv-serbiya-chto-prinesla-serbii-vstrecha-putina-i-vuchicha.html.
[14] “Putin’s Asymmetric Assault on Democracy in Russia and Europe: Implications for U.S. National Security,” Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, January 10, 2018, https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/FinalRR.pdf.
[15] “Serbia’s Minister signs two security deals in Moscow,” N1, November 20, 2019, https://rs.n1info(.)com/English/NEWS/a545609/Serbia-s-Interior-Minister-signs-two-Belgarde-Moscow-deals-on-security-issues.html; [“Heads of Security Councils of the Russian Federation and Serbia agree to cooperate in the fight against crime and terrorism,”] TASS, November 22, 2019, https://tass(.)ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/7178665.
[16] “MINISTRY OF JUSTICE AND PROSECUTOR-GENERAL’S OFFICE OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION SIGN A COOPERATION AGREEMENT,” Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Serbia, September 27, 2019, https://www.mpravde.gov(.)rs/en/vest/26935/ministry-of-justice-and-prosecutor-generals-office-of-the-russian-federation-sign-a-cooperation-agreement.php.
[17] “Serbia Signs Trade Agreement With Russia-Led Eurasian Economic Union,” Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, October 25, 2019, https://www.rferl.org/a/serbia-to-ink-trade-agreement-with-russia-led-eurasian-economic-union/30235917.html.
[18] Milica Stojanovic, “Serbia Signs Trade Deal With Russia’s Eurasian Union,” Balkan Insight, October 25, 2019, https://balkaninsight(.)com/2019/10/25/serbia-signs-trade-deal-with-russias-eurasian-union/; Dominik Istrate, “Serbia signs FTA with Eurasian Economic Union,” Emerging Europe, October 28, 2019, https://emerging-europe.com/news/serbia-signs-fta-with-eurasian-economic-union/.
[19] “EU warns Belgrade over free trade deal with Russia’s Eurasia,” Euractiv, October 22, 2019, https://www.euractiv(.)com/section/politics/news/eu-warns-belgrade-over-free-trade-deal-with-russias-eurasia/.
[20] “European Union warned of ‘historic mistake’ as Emmanuel Macron blocks Balkan enlargement talks,” The Telegraph, October 18, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co(.)uk/news/2019/10/18/europe-union-warned-historic-mistake-emmanuel-macron-blocks/; James McAuley, “France’s Macron Wants to Make it Harder to get into the E.U. Club,” Washington Post, November 22, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/frances-macron-wants-to-make-it-harder-to-get-into-the-eu-club/2019/11/22/27a4ac76-0bb5-11ea-8054-289aef6e38a3_story.html, Aleksandar Borisov, [“Albania and North Macedonia were invited to the EAEU,”] Rossiskaya Gazeta, October 10, 2019, https://rg(.)ru/2019/10/30/albaniiu-i-severnuiu-makedoniiu-pozvali-v-eaes.html; “No Consensus – Three EU Countries Oppose Accession Talks with Albania and N. Macedonia,” Exit News, October 15, 2019, https://exit(.)al/en/2019/10/15/no-consensus-three-eu-countries-oppose-accession-talks-with-albania-and-n-macedonia/.
[21] Guy Delauney, “European snub to North Macedonia fuels frustration in Balkans,” BBC News, November 2, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50260379; Georgi Gotev, “Albania offers first comments on Macron’s enlargement damper,” Euractive, October 31, 2019, https://www.euractiv(.)com/section/enlargement/news/albania-offers-first-comments-to-macrons-enlargement-damper/.
[22] Luke Bacigalupo, “Western Balkans: A ‘Mini-Schengen’ Zone,” Global Risk Insights, October 20, 2019, https://globalriskinsights(.)com/2019/10/western-balkans-a-mini-schengen-zone/.
[23] [“‘Mini-Schengen’ as a door for Russia and China in the Balkans,”] Bota Sot, November 21, 2019, https://www.botasot(.)info/lajme/1190719/mini-shengeni-si-dere-per-rusine-dhe-kinen-ne-ballkan/.
[24] Misha Savic and Gordana Filipovic, “Serbia Inks Deal With Russia’s Answer to the EU Following Snub,” Bloomberg, October 25, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-25/serbia-to-ink-deal-with-russia-s-answer-to-the-eu-following-snub.
[25] EEU member states include Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.
[26] Serbia has an EEU with Russia, Belarus and KZ “Free Trade Investments,” Development Agency of Serbia, Accessed December 13, 2019, https://ras.gov(.)rs/export-promotion/free-trade-agreements.
[27] Golam Mostafa and Monowar Mahmood, “Eurasian Economic Union: Evolution, challenges and possible future directions,” Sage Journal of Eurasian Studies, July 1, 2018, https://journals.sagepub(.)com/doi/full/10.1016/j.euras.2018.05.001; Rilka Dragneva and Kataryna Wolczuk, “The Eurasian Economic Union: Deals, Rules and the Exercise of Power,” Chatham House, May 2017, https://www.chathamhouse(.)org/sites/default/files/publications/research/2017-05-02-eurasian-economic-union-dragneva-wolczuk.pdf.
[28] George Barros and Nataliya Bugayova, “Russia in Review: The Kremlin’s Outreach to Singapore,” Institute for the Study of War, October 18, 2019, https://iswresearch.blogspot.com/2019/10/russia-in-review-kremlins-outreach-to.html, “Interim Agreement leading to formation of a free trade area between the Eurasian Economic Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Islamic Republic of Iran, of the other part,” Eurasian Economic Commission, Accessed December 13, 2019, http://www.eurasiancommission(.)org/ru/act/trade/dotp/Pages/%d0%92%d1%80%d0%b5%d0%bc%d0%b5%d0%bd%d0%bd%d0%be%d0%b5-%d1%81%d0%be%d0%b3%d0%bb%d0%b0%d1%88%d0%b5%d0%bd%d0%b8%d0%b5-%d1%81-%d0%98%d1%80%d0%b0%d0%bd%d0%be%d0%bc.aspx, [“EAEU sets deadline for creating free trade zones with Singapore and Egypt,”] RBK, September 30, 2019, https://www.rbc(.)ru/politics/30/09/2019/5d891b059a79470807abedb7?from=from_main, Chhut Bunthoeun, “Nation set to ink agreement with Russia-led economic bloc,”Khmer Times, November 6, 2019, https://www.khmertimeskh(.)com/657467/nation-set-to-ink-agreement-with-russia-led-economic-bloc/, “Trade agreement with EAEU officially declared to Iranian customs,” Tehran Times, November 8, 2019, https://www.tehrantimes(.)com/news/441768/Trade-agreement-with-EAEU-officially-declared-to-Iranian-customs.
[29] [“Russian Railways and the Government of Serbia agree on the modernization of the railway line from Belgrade to the border with Montenegro,”] Investing, October 20, 2019, https://ru.investing(.)com/news/economy/article-1922906, [“Russian Railways and Serbia agree to implement a number of railway projects,”] RIA Novosti, October 19, 2019, https://ria(.)ru/20191019/1559979230.html.
[30] [“We take a loan from Russia for the construction of a railway of 172 million euros,”] Nova Ekonomija, November 4, 2019, https://novaekonomija(.)rs/vesti/vesti-iz-zemlje/od-rusije-uzimamo-kredit-za-izgradnju-%C5%BEeleznice-od-172-miliona-evra; Zeeshan Aziz, “Moscow, Belgrade Sign Agreements On Export Loan, Localization Of Russian Enterprises,” UrduPoint, October 19, 2019, https://www.urdupoint(.)com/en/business/moscow-belgrade-sign-agreements-on-export-lo-741267.html; “MIL-OSI Russia: The Ministry of industry and trade: some Russian companies interested in placing production in Serbia,” Foreign Affairs, October 20, 2019, https://foreignaffairs.co(.)nz/2019/10/22/mil-osi-russia-the-ministry-of-industry-and-trade-some-russian-companies-interested-in-placing-production-in-serbia/.
[31] “Medvedev’s visit to Serbia,” Accessed December 13, 2019, Government of the Republic of Serbia, https://www.srbija.gov(.)rs/specijal/en/59887.
[32] “Russia, Serbia to build nuclear research centre,” World Nuclear News, October 21, 2019, https://www.world-nuclear-news(.)org/Articles/Russia-Serbia-to-build-nuclear-research-centre?feed=feed; “Russia, Serbia sign deal on cooperation in construction of Center for Nuclear Science, Technology and Innovations,” NS Energy, October 21, 2019, https://www.nsenergybusiness(.)com/news/russia-serbia-sign-deal-on-cooperation-in-construction-of-center-for-nuclear-science-technology-and-innovations/; “Serbia, Russia sign interstate agreements,” Government of the Republic of Serbia, January 27, 2019, https://www.srbija.gov(.)rs/vest/en/136133/serbia-russia-sign-interstate-agreements.php. Serbia’s nuclear aspirations with Russia began when the two states signed a cooperation agreement during Vladimir Putin’s visit to Serbia on January 17.
[33] Nataliya Bugayova, Mason Clark, Michaela Walker, Andre Briere, Anthony Yanchuk, and George Barros, “The Kremlin’s Inroads After the Africa Summit,” Institute for the Study of War, November 8, 2019, http://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/kremlins-inroads-after-africa-summit.
[34] Misha Savic, “”Kosovo’s Election Winner Signals Tough Stance Toward Serbia,” Bloomberb, October 6, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-06/kosovo-opposition-wins-election-that-may-help-bid-for-eu-nato.
[35] “US diplomat pushes for return to Kosovo-Serbia dialogue,” Prishtina Insight, November 11, 2019, https://prishtinainsight(.)com/us-diplomat-pushes-for-return-to-kosovo-serbia-dialogue/; Snezana Bjelotomic, “Palmer: ‘Serbia will not join the EU unless it recognizes Kosovo’s independence,’” Serbian Monitor, November 4, 2019, https://www.serbianmonitor(.)com/en/palmerserbia-will-not-join-the-eu-unless-it-recognizes-kosovos-independence/; Fatos Bytyci, “Serbia must accept Kosovo independence to join EU: German foreign minister,” Reuters, February 14, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-kosovo-germany-serbia/serbia-must-accept-kosovo-independence-to-join-eu-german-foreign-minister-idUSKCN1FY329.
[36] Russian Mission OSCE, Twitter, September 6, 2019, https://twitter.com/RF_OSCE/status/1169899455383887876?s=20.
[37] Talha Ozturk, “Ghana withdraws recognition of Kosovo: Report,” AA, November 13, 2019, https://www.aa(.)com.tr/en/africa/ghana-withdraws-recognition-of-kosovo-report/1643753; Agata Palikova, “15 countries, and counting, revoke recognition of Kosovo, Serbia says,” Euractiv, August 27, 2019, https://www.euractiv(.)com/section/enlargement/news/15-countries-and-counting-revoke-recognition-of-kosovo-serbia-says/; “Nauru withdraws recognition of Kosovo’s independence, Pristina denies,” N1, November 22, 2019, http://rs.n1info(.)com/English/NEWS/a546106/Dacic-says-95-countries-do-not-recognise-Kosovo-as-state-after-Nauru-s-withdrawal.html; “Serbia’s gratitude for Suriname’s decision to revoke recognition of the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, November 2, 2017, http://www.mfa(.)gov.rs/en/press-service/statements/17134-serbias-gratitude-for-surinames-decision-to-revoke-recognition-of-the-unilaterally-declared-independence-of-kosovo; [“Dacic: Burundi withdraws recognition, fragile independence of Kosovo,”] N1, February 17, 2018,
http://rs.n1info(.)com/Vesti/a365229/Dacic-o-godisnjici-proglasenja-nezavisnosti-Kosova.html;
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[38] [“Speech by the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation A. Lukashevich at a Meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on the 20th Anniversary of the NATO Bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,”] Russian Foreign Ministry, March 30, 2019, http://www.mid(.)ru/web/guest/vistupleniya_rukovodstva_mid/-/asset_publisher/MCZ7HQuMdqBY/content/id/3595333.

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