Ukrainian Interior Minister blames UNMIK for riots

12:36, 20 March 2008
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UN poorly planned operations, he said

Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko has criticized UNMIK for their poor handling of the Kosovska Mitrovica riots, according to Beta news, Serbia.

Lutsenko was speaking in Priština yesterday about the poorly planned operation to regain control over the courthouse in the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica, which claimed the life of one Ukrainian solder.In Priština, Lutsenko met with UNMIK Deputy Chief Larry Rossin and then visited injured Ukrainian soldiers. The Ukrainian interior minister also pointed to the shortcomings in communication between the troops who took part in the operation on March 17. "Considering the date, March 17, the operation was very difficult, because we all know what March 17 means to the people in that part of Kosovo.

Secondly, I don’t believe there was enough necessary planning before the operation," he stressed. Lutsenko said that Ukraine was not planning to withdraw its troops from Kosovo, for the time being. He voiced the opinion that UNMIK should take responsibility for the death of the Ukrainian soldier and added that otherwise, the issue would be resolved in the Ukrainian parliament. UNMIK spokesman Alexander Ivanko said that "responsibility lies exclusively with those who used fire arms and hand grenades against UNMIK police and KFOR, who were performing their duties." "Now, an investigation has been launched into the event, including murder and attempted murder. We shall try to question as many people as possible. The investigation was opened on March 18 and I will not disclose the details," Ivanko said. During Monday’s riots, one Ukrainian UNMIK officer was killed, and 42 UNMIK police and 22 KFOR troops were injured, the international security institutions in Kosovo announced.

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