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Security Council members condemn killing of Russian soldier in Kosovo

Security Council members condemn killing of Russian soldier in Kosovo

Members of the Security Council today deplored the recent killing of a Russian soldier serving in Kosovo and called for action to bring those responsible to justice.

The current President of the Council, Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock of the United Kingdom, said in a press statement that Council members condemned the "tragic" shooting, which had taken place yesterday. He added that the Council members, who had extended their condolences to the Russian delegation during consultations this morning, were "very interested in an investigative follow-up and in action being taken against the perpetrators."

According to the international force in Kosovo (KFOR), the Russian soldier came under small-arms fire from unknown attackers while conducting a demarcation operation along the Kosovo-Serbia boundary, north-west of the Kosovo village of Zuja.

The killing was also condemned by the head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), Hans Haekkerup.

In another development, UNMIK announced today that Kosovo's citizens would be able to surrender their weapons without fear of prosecution during an amnesty period from 1 May to 3 June.

"We want to see rifles, automatic guns, assault rifles, grenades, mines, bombs, rocket launchers -- all the paraphernalia of war -- off the streets, out of the houses, out of the barns, out of the haystack, out of the concealment in the forest and all the rest of it," said UNMIK Police Commissioner Christopher Albiston.

Promising that the amnesty was a "good faith offer," he stressed that those who turned in weapons would "not be asked for names and addresses, they will not be asked details about the weapons, they will not be subjected to some kind of intelligence operation or forensic analysis or anything else which is designed to place them in an awkward position."

Persons found with unauthorized weapons after the deadline could face prison sentences of up to 10 years. According to UNMIK, the amnesty programme is part of a larger anti-crime effort aimed at taking out of circulation the huge quantity of weaponry which remains in Kosovo nearly two years after the conflict.