Commander of the United States European Command, General Curtis M. Scaparrotti said in a testimony before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that the security situation in the Balkans is very fragile and that the region is the main target of Russia’s ‘malign’ influence. Scaparrotti said the Balkans region is of strategic importance and also spoke about the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue.
“Negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia for normalisation of relations and the achievement of a lasting solution that is implementable for the two countries are being expected. Russia feeds the regional unsustainability in an effort to prevent the Balkans countries from making progress on their Euro-Atlantic integration,” Scaparrotti said. He underlined the fact that Russia opposes independence of Kosovo and that its political, military and economic assistance to Serbia is aimed at preserving influence over the country.
“NATO’s force in Kosovo (KFOR) which includes 3,500 troops from NATO members and other states plays an important role in maintaining security and stability in this region,” Scaparrotti said.