MUNICH, Germany – Russia said on Sunday that Europe risked opening a “Pandora’s box” if it went ahead and recognized the independence of the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo.
Moscow has supported Belgrade in opposing Kosovo’s secession from Serbia and blocked a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have granted the territory supervised independence.
“We want to stay in the framework of international law,” Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov told an international security conference in the German city of Munich.
“We don’t want to create a precedent. We think if it comes to a unilateral recognition of Kosovo, that would be a precedent. That would definitely be beyond international law, and it would be something close to opening a Pandora’s box.”
The term comes from Greek mythology and means that when a certain action is taken, it may give rise to many unpredictable and unmanageable problems.
Kosovo’s 90 percent Albanian majority wants to declare independence in the coming weeks with Western backing, despite opposition from Serbia and its historic Orthodox ally, Russia.
Russia also opposes an EU plan to send an 1,800-strong police and justice mission to replace a United Nations administration in Kosovo and supervise its independence. Moscow says that would require a new resolution in the U.N. Security Council, where it holds a right of veto.