from Kosovo DThe defense minister on Sunday urged the United States to set up a permanent military base in the country as Russian aggression continues to ramp up in Ukraine.
Armend Mehaj, Kosovo’s defense minister, further called on NATO to expedite Kosovo’s membership of the organization after the country publicly condemned Russia’s attack and pledged to provide military troops to Ukraine upon request.
“Accelerating Kosovo’s NATO membership and having a permanent US force base is an immediate need to ensure peace, security and stability in the Western Balkans,” Mehaj said on his Facebook page, according to Reuters.
US TARGETS RUSSIA’S ‘WAR CHEST’ WITH NEW SANCTIONS
Kosovo has joined other European countries in imposing sanctions on Russia for its aggressive invasion of Ukraine, which has raised security concerns for Kosovo.
The United States already maintains 635 troops on rotation in Kosovo as part of a peacekeeping operation that began in the 1990s. Kosovo declared itself an independent country from Serbia in 2008. 110 countries recognize Kosovo as an independent country. However, Russia and its Balkan ally Serbia do not. Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Ukraine do not recognize Kosovo’s independence either.
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Kosovo’s request comes nearly a month after Lithuania indicated it wanted permanent US forces in the country ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The United States already stationed 500 troops in Lithuania.