Moscow will not recognize Kosovo's independence, Russia’s ambassador to Belgrade said on Friday.
Speaking to Serbian Insajder TV, Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko said Russia's policy on Kosovo has not changed, Russia believes that Serbia's stance on not imposing sanctions on Russia will continue, and Moscow will not recognize Kosovo.
"The Kosovo issue is a fundamental issue of friendly and fraternal cooperation between Russia and Serbia. There is no indication that Russia can change its stance on this issue," he said.
The controversy emerged after Russian President Vladimir Putin referred to the International Court of Justice's "right to self-determination" article after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called Russia's war on Ukraine an "occupation."
Putin said the independence of Kosovo is recognized by Western countries and this is the decision of the international court. This set Kosovo as an example for Donbas, eastern Ukraine, he said, where there are two enclaves whose “independence” Russia recognizes.
Putin citing Kosovo as setting a model for Donbas faced a backlash in Serbia, including from newspapers close to the government.
Kosovo is the first country in the region to join EU/US sanctions on Russia, according to the country's president.
After declaring independence in 2008, the former Serbian province of Kosovo is recognized by more than 100 countries, including the US, UK, France, Germany, and Turkiye.
Belgrade continues to see Kosovo as its own territory.
Serbia, Russia, and China are among the countries which have yet to recognize Kosovo’s independence.