Ukrainian MP urges Kyiv to recognise Kosovo

Ukrainian MP urges Kyiv to recognise Kosovo
Kosovo's iconic National Library, a landmark building in Europe's newest capital Pristina.
By bne IntelliNews January 26, 2023

Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko has called for Kosovo to be recognised by countries that until now have failed to do so for the sake of peace and stability in Europe.

Ukraine does not currently recognise Kosovo, which unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008. The question of recognising Kosovo is a complex one for Ukraine, as Russian politicians have frequently used the precedent set by Kosovo to justify annexing territory and backing separatists in Ukraine and other countries. 

However, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Kosovo has been a strong supporter of Kyiv, while Serbia has been widely criticised for its refusal to impose sanctions on Russia. 

“It is necessary to recognise the independence of Kosovo. It is necessary for Kosovo to become a member of the Council of Europe, and in the future - a member of the European Union,” Goncharenko

While Serbia is carrying out a campaign to persuade other countries to de-recognise Kosovo, Kosovo’s authorities are lobbying for support for its recognition and membership in European bodies and international clubs.

Following the invasion, Kosovo has increased its efforts to enter international organisations and called for accelerated procedures for its Nato and EU membership, fearing that the close ties between Russia and Serbia could encourage Belgrade to destabilise Kosovo.

Kosovo filed an official application to join the CoE in May 2022 to which Serbian officials reacted angrily.

Serbia sees such attempts as a violation of international agreements which say Kosovo is obliged to restrain from admission to international organisations.

Belgrade and Pristina have been engaged in an EU-mediated dialogue on the normalisation of their relations since 2011, but not much progress has been achieved so far. Following the latest tensions with Pristina's decision to impose new rules on car plates by non-recognition of Serbian plates, international efforts for finding a solution stepped up.

Serbian authorities claimed that in the last 15 years, 27 countries mainly from the third world have made a decision to withdraw the recognition of Kosovo, which may have consequences for Kosovo, which may not have enough votes to secure UN membership.

The one-year moratorium under the 2020 Washington Agreement, by which Serbia pledged to stop the de-recognition campaign, and Kosovo not to seek admission to international organisations, expired in September 2021.

Following the latest international pressure, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that if Serbia does not accept the Western proposal on solving the dispute with Kosovo, the EU integration process of the country will be halted.

The president’s address has been seen as a shift in Serbian policy regarding Kosovo.

According to Vucic, the change in geopolitical circumstances contributed to the “harshest approach” by Western countries towards Serbia and the Kosovo issue.

The content of the proposal has not been disclosed, but Vucic commented that there is no longer talks of mutual recognition with Kosovo. However, Vucic said that Serbia would have to accept Kosovo’s membership of international organisations like the UN, Nato and the Council of Europe.

As the US is Kosovo's biggest ally and supporter, and Russia is the biggest ally of Serbia, the US-Russia relations on a micro level are mirrored in Kosovo and Serbia.