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May 24, 2017

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Kosovo a 'quasi-state' with no legal status: Russia

MOSCOW--Russia said Tuesday it still considers Kosovo to be a quasi-state without legal existence after the end of supervision by an international body, backing Serbia's refusal to recognize the territory.

The assertion came a day after Western powers, operating as the so-called International Steering Group (ISG), announced it was ending its supervision in Kosovo.

"Because the International Steering Group has no official recognized status, we act on the premise that, regardless of its decision, Kosovo continues to be a quasi-state with no international legal personality," ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Russian news agency Interfax.

The ISG, made up of 23 European Union members, Turkey and the United States, had overseen Kosovo for the last four years.

The decision to end supervision was greeted as a "historic milestone" by US President Barack Obama, and the ISG said the move "confirms that the international community respects Kosovo."

In July, the ISG said the end of supervision would mean Kosovo would gain "full sovereignty." Pristina, however, in reality has no effective control over Serb-majority northern Kosovo, which rejects the ethnic Albanian authorities.

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