Debate: No equals sign should be put between Crimea, Kosovo

BELGRADE - The cases of Crimea and Kosovo, whose declaration of independence opened room for redrawing of borders in the world and served as encouragement for secessionist movements, should not be viewed in equal light, participants said during the debate entitled 'From Kosovo to Crimea: Unilateral moves and manipulation involving the right to self-determination'.

Russian Ambassador in Belgrade Alexander Chepurin listed four reasons why an equation mark must not be put between the two cases. The first reason lies in the fact that Kosovo never had a statehood of its own, while Crimea has a tradition of statehood dating back to the 15th century, he noted.

He said that Crimea joined the Russian empire in the 18th century and was 'illegally' handed over to Ukraine in 1954.

Khrushchev delivered Crimea without any prior procedure envisaged in the Constitution and this was solely the decision of the former USSR presidency, Chepurin said.

The second reason why the cases and Crimea and Kosovo must not be considered the same lies in the fact that the ethnic Albanian population in Kosovo did not conduct all the procedures applicable within the borders of the Republic of Serbia in terms of realisation of the right to self-determination, while the population of Crimea reached the decision in the referendum.

A coup d'etat was carried out in Ukraine and unilateral steps were conducted with the aim of reducing autonomy of Crimea, Chepurin said and underscored that in the case of Kosovo, external factors exerted certain influence, while the action in Crimea was not marked by any external military interference.

Chepurin said that one more reason why the two cases differ greatly is the fact that Kosovo was part of the...

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