Serb Protests Rock Kosovo

Independence stokes tensions between Russia and West
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2008 7:29 AM CST

(Newser) – Mobs of Serb nationalists chanting "Kosovo is ours!" threw stones, bottles, and firecrackers at UN police yesterday as a bridge in northern Kosovo separating Serbs from ethnic Albanians became a flashpoint for conflict over the fledgling independent state. The State Dept. meanwhile ordered non-essential diplomats and all dependents of US personnel to leave Serbia after rioters torched the US Embassy in Belgrade Thursday.

Russia warned that recognition of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence sets a precedent for the use of force: if the EU takes a unified position in favor of Kosovo, Russia will "proceed on the basis that in order to be respected we need to use brute force," a Russian ambassador told the BBC. The US called Russia's policy "cynical" and "unhelpful."