Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed early last week to provide humanitarian aid to Serb areas in Kosovo after a request from Serbia's government.
"Belgrade will receive 140 metric tons of food, including canned meat and fish, baby food, rice, sugar and substantial amounts of medical equipment, medicines, disinfectants and other healthcare products in the next few days. The aid package is worth approximately 40 million rubles ($1.7 million)," Vladimir Titov said.
Titov said the Russian Emergencies Ministry had made urgent arrangements for the first stage of an operation to deliver aid to Serbia in four flights from April 2 to April 10.
Hasim Taci, the Kosovan prime minister, made a request last Wednesday for Russia to discuss with Pristina proposed deliveries of humanitarian aid to Serb enclaves in Kosovo.
"Kosovo is an independent, sovereign state, and has its own legitimate institutions. Serbs are Kosovan nationals and form part of these legitimate democratic institutions. Therefore everything should go through these institutions as soon as agreements are reached," Taci said.
Kosovo, with a 90% ethnic Albanian majority, has been recognized as a sovereign state by the United States, most European Union members, and several other countries since it proclaimed independence from Serbia on February 17. Russia and China have sided with Belgrade, which says Kosovo will always remain a part of its territory.
Two weeks ago violence broke out in the north of Kosovo as rioters attacked UN peacekeepers following the arrests of ethnic Serbs who had seized a UN court building in protest against the province's secession. A Ukrainian peacekeeper was killed and dozens of people, both Serbs and UN personnel, were injured.
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