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  Wednesday, September 23, 2020
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If Serbian presidential contender Tomislav Nikolic wins the runoff on February
If Serbian presidential contender Tomislav Nikolic wins the runoff on February 3, Kosovo is likely to immediately declare its independence, a Russian analyst said on Thursday.

Serbian Radical Party leader Nikolic, widely branded an ultra-nationalist, is currently level in the opinion polls with pro-European incumbent Boris Tadic ahead of the presidential runoff.

"Nikolic's victory will mean independence for Kosovo and its recognition by almost all members of the European Union. A victory for Tadic will only put off this moment to mid-March," said Pyotr Iskanderov, a senior expert at the Institute of Slavonic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

"It is obvious that Kosovo's independence is far more important to the United States and the European Union than the elections in Serbia. Kosovo's independence can be acknowledged after the polls," he said.

Iskanderov said the main problem was not who would win the elections but how the Kosovo situation would develop.

He warned that Kosovo's independence could create a new center of instability in the south Balkans as ethnic Albanians living in Macedonia, southern Serbia and Montenegro could start discussions on their status.

He said the eventual creation of a united Albanian state with the population of 10 million people would ultimately be possible.

Kosovo has been a UN protectorate ever since NATO's bombing of the former Yugoslavia ended a bloody conflict between Albanians and Serb forces in the region in 1999.


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