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Russian FM: US Weapons to Kosovo Illegal

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has sharply criticized the U.S. decision to authorize military assistance to Kosovo, saying such a move would break international law.

Lavrov said during a visit to Israel Thursday that a United Nations Security Council resolution prohibits any arms supplies to Kosovo, except to U.N. forces in the region.

He said any other supplies would be "illegitimate" and could further destabilize the Balkans.

President Bush Wednesday authorized military aid to Kosovo in another step to establish formal relations with the newly independent country.

Mr. Bush said he believes supplying arms to Kosovo will strengthen U.S. security and foster world peace.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica called the decision "another deeply wrong move" by the United States. He said it could lead to terrorism in the Balkans.

Kosovo and its 90-percent ethnic Albanian majority declared independence from Serbia last month. The United States was among the first Western countries to recognize the move. Since then, more than 30 nations have offered recognition, including Bulgaria, which established diplomatic ties Thursday. Belgrade has responded by withdrawing its ambassadors from countries supporting Kosovo.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.