Ukraine is facing huge international pressure to recognise Kosovo’s independence, Serbia’s outgoing deputy Premier said in Kyiv, according to Balkan Insight.

"I believe we can count of Ukrainian support in our struggle to protect the territorial integrity of Serbia," Bozidar Djelic said after meetings with Ukrainian officials held on the margins of the annual session of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Despite huge protests from Belgrade and Moscow, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on February 17, a move which has been recognised by 41 countries so far, including the United States and major European states.

Djelic also held a series of talks in Kyiv aimed towards signing a free trade deal which could seriously boost trade ties, estimated at some ? 320 million.

The framework for the new deal between Belgrade and Kyiv was drafted two years ago, Djelic said, adding that two sides agreed to speed up proceedings that would lead to the finalisation of this accord.

Balkan Insight