The murder of Kosovo Serb leader Oliver Ivanovic is yet another attempt to intimidate Serbs living in Kosovo, the Russian embassy in Serbia said on Tuesday.
“We are deeply shocked by the tragic death in a terror attack of Oliver Ivanovic, a man he has dedicated his life to the advocacy of the rights of Serbs after NATO’s aggression against Serbia and Kosovo’s and Metohija’s forced separation from it and has been persecuted for that. It is yet another attempt to intimidate the Serb population, to undermine prospects for peace and mutually acceptable solution to the conflict. It is a vivid example of lawfulness and violence are plaguing Kosovo,” the embassy said in a statement posted on its website.
The Russian diplomats offered condolences to Ivanovic’ family and stressed they hope the crime “will be thoroughly investigated under the leading role of international structures in Kosovo and with participation of Serbia’s relevant agencies and the murderers will be duly punished.”
Oliver Ivanovic, 64, the leader of the Kosovo Serb party Freedom, Democracy, Justice, was shot dead on Tuesday when he was entering his party’s headquarters in Kosovska Mitrovica. His fellow party member said no one had heard any sounds of shooting and the wounded politician had been found by a neighbor who was returning from a shop. Police later found a burnt car without an identification number, which the killers had allegedly used.
The politician was taken to a hospital with five gunshot wounds to his chest. The doctors tried to save his life, but to no avail.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has described Ivanovic’s assassination as a terrorist attack on the entire Serbian people. Director of Serbia’s government office for Kosovo Marko Juric said that the Serbian delegation was cutting short its technical dialogue with Pristina in Brussels to return to Belgrade.
International missions in Kosovo have condemned Ivanovic’s murder and demanded the local authorities waste no time to find those responsible and punish them. Russia has pointed to the threat of exacerbation of atmosphere of terror and recurrence of the interethnic conflict in the region.