Croatian president accuses internationals of annexing, taking Kosovo from Serbia

The international community took away Kosovo from Serbia, and Croatia played a part in this, setting a precedent for future territorial grabs, Croatia’s increasingly rogue head of state, Zoran Milanović, said on Monday in comments that went viral in Serbian media.

Milanović, a former Social Democrat known for readily offering populist, off-the-cuff comments that go against common EU positions, also said that Crimea would never again be Ukrainian.

“We annexed Kosovo. We and the international community. It was taken away from Serbia. Who did it but us? Did recognise Kosovo? We did. It’s not annexation, it’s expropriation…

Once it was done without the will of the country it belonged to, it was only a matter of time before Russia or someone else would do the same”.

“This is questioning the whole concept, in which someone thinks they have the right. The same with Crimea – Crimea will never again be Ukraine. This is what the leading German generals are saying,” Milanović said.

Kosovo, a Serbian province in the former Yugoslav federation, was placed in the UN protectorate in 1999 following a NATO bombing campaign to halt Belgrade’s brutal crackdown on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. It declared independence in 2008 with Western backing but is still not recognised by five EU member states.

Milanović also made clear he preferred peace talks to continued military aid to Ukraine.

“We are getting deeper and deeper into the conflict with a superpower. You know how they end up losing the war? They use nuclear weapons.”

“The question is how much we will help Ukraine. This is not help; this is torture. They should have been forced to the negotiating table.”

He also called sending lethal arms to Ukraine “mad” and said Russia could not be defeated conventionally.

“What is the goal? Disintegration of Russia, change of the government? There is also talk of tearing Russia apart. This is mad,” he said.

Milanović previously said he would block plans to offer military training for Ukrainian troops in Croatia – a proposal the Croatian parliament eventually rejected – and that the sanctions the West imposed on Russia would not bring about the end of the conflict.

The comments sparked outrage in Kosovo and Albania, as well as from an Albanian deputy in Croatia, Ermina Lekaj Prljaskaj. She said that Kosovo resulted from the breakup of Yugoslavia, like Croatia and that Zagreb was one of the first to recognise its independence in 2008.

“The Republic of Croatia was among the first to recognise the independence of the Republic of Kosovo and established diplomatic and political relations based on partnership, cooperation and nurturing of European values. Also, the Republic of Croatia strongly supports the efforts of the Republic of Kosovo for Euro-Atlantic integration and strengthening the position in Southeast Europe,” she said.

Prljaskaj added that even when it was a part of Yugoslavia, it was the Autonomous Socialist Province of Kosovo, a constitutional element of the federation and the representative of Kosovo, Sinan Hasani, performed “the nominal duty of head of state.”

(Zoran Radosavljević |, Alice Taylor |

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Zoran Radosavljevic