NATO’s campaign made European region ‘a hotbed of crime’ – Lavrov to RT

Russia’s foreign minister says the bloc’s bombing campaign has not brought prosperity to Kosovo

Russia finds it hard to believe that NATO is a purely defensive bloc, giving its bombing campaign in Yugoslavia in 1999, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told RT on Friday.

The minister made his comments while speaking about the talks between German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday.

“Scholz and others NATO officials say that NATO is a defensive alliance. Putin reminded Scholz at a joint press conference about the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999,” Lavrov remarked. “[Scholz] said that NATO had intervened in order to prevent the genocide of Kosovar Albanians. That it was a success, and now the region is prospering. It is far from prospering.”

“Kosovo and some other parts of the Western Balkans are becoming a hotbed of crime. There are terrorists, drug dealers. Mercenaries are recruited there for military conflicts ignited by the US, among others,” the minister said.

“There is information that militants from Kosovo, Albania, and Bosnia and Herzegovina are being recruited to knock Russia off balance, which includes sending them to Donbass [in eastern Ukraine]. We are working to verify it right now.”

“To say that NATO invaded Yugoslavia with noble goals is incorrect and unethical, to say the least,” Lavrov said.

In 1999, NATO launched a 78-day bombing campaign, claiming that it was protecting civilians against atrocities committed by Serbian troops and police during an insurgency of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. UN peacekeepers were deployed in the region after Serbian forces left.

Kosovo’s independence, unilaterally declared in 2008, has been recognized by nearly 100 countries, including the US. Russia still considers Kosovo a part of Serbia.

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