Russian aid delivered to Red Cross in Zvečan

JARINJE, ZVEČAN -- Humanitarian aid, sent to the Serbs in Kosovo at the order of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, was delivered Friday to the Serbian Red Cross in Zvečan.

The trucks arrive in Zvečan on Friday (Tanjug)
The trucks arrive in Zvečan on Friday (Tanjug)

The convoy carrying around 300 tons of aid was handed over in the presence of Russian Ambassador to Serbia Aleksandr Konuzin and Zvečan and Zubin Potok Mayors Dragiša Milović and Slaviša Risitić.

Milović thanked Russia on behalf of the citizens of northern Kosovo, singling out the drivers who were unjustly detained for three days at the administrative crossing.

He said the aid would help, above all, the internally displaced, who had not been able to return to their homes even 12 years after the arrival of international forces.

“Russia's support to the Serbs in Kosovo to stay on their own land means even more than the humanitarian assistance,” he added.

Konuzin thanked everyone who helped get the convoy moving again, northern Kosovo mayors in particular.

"I thank the residents of Kosovo and Metohija who have supported the convoy. Many ordinary Serbs were arriving at the Jarinje crossing to see us, greet us, talk to us," said Konuzin during the handover of the cargo.

The ambassador stressed that he noted the great warmth that Serbs feel toward Russians, and added: "We feel the same, and we hope that you will find this humanitarian aid useful."

Konuzin also stated that the shipment would help Serbs protect their legitimate rights and stand up to illegal activities of the force that is used against them:

"Rest assured that events in Kosovo are being carefully monitored in Russia. Russia will always stand with Serbs."

The Russian convoy carrying humanitarian aid to Kosovo Serbs crossed the administrative line and headed to Kosovska Mitrovica a little after 07:00 CET on Friday.

The convoy was held at the Jarinje administrative crossing since Tuesday.

After an agreement was reached, over 20 trucks carrying about 300 tons of humanitarian aid were let through at the Jarinje crossing during the night and were escorted by three EULEX SUVs.

After all trucks had entered Kosovo, the convoy departed for Kosovska Mitrovica.

Having exited Kosovo through the Merdare crossing and then passed through central Serbia, three EULEX police SUVs reached the Jarinje checkpoint. Members of the EULEX customs then reintroduced control and passage of vehicles.

The Russian aid convoy arrived at the Jarinje administrative crossing on Tuesday afternoon and after two trucks were let through, EULEX customs stopped the other vehicles from going through.

EULEX requested from the Russian side to accept the escort of the EULEX police, stressing that this is just an ordinary EU procedure for such big convoys, or to redirect the convoy to the Merdare crossing.

After the talks at the highest political level between Moscow and Brussels a compromise was reached for Moscow to accept a small EULEX escort.

The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry’s convoy was accompanied by the Russian ambassador to Serbia.