Monitor: International comment on Russia's unexpected entry into Kosovo

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"THE RUSSIANS are coming," screamed the headline of a Berlin newspaper. After a careful count, it turned out that only 200 Russians feted themselves as the peace-makers of Pristina. A propaganda coup, and something more. The Kremlin wanted to show that Russia protected the Serbs from the wrath of Albanians; that Russia, while co-operating with Nato, takes orders from nobody; and that Russia, although less powerful than she used to be, is no less self-conscious.

Bild Zeitung, Germany

THIS WEEKEND'S events in Kosovo underlined the fact that the leadership of our country has absolutely no idea of a strategy for protecting the long-term interests of Russia in Yugoslavia. As a result, Russia has virtually lost the chance to participate in Yugoslavia as a neutral and morally convincing intermediary.

Novaya Gazeta, Russia

RUSSIA'S HALF-reformed leadership looks at the Serbian withdrawal and sees red. Humiliating red because Cold War rival Nato is far more powerful. Angry red because many Russians empathize with Serbia, a Slavic nation accustomed to ethnic brutality and forced to accept Western standards. That those passions prompted this weekend's show of defiance by 200 Russian troops is a surprise only in its specifics. But the mere fact that such action would be taken is a vivid illustration of how dangerously frayed Russia's links to the West have become. For years, Western hopes have relied almost entirely on Yeltsin, who has managed - not always easily - to keep anti-Western factions under control. The weekend incursion suggests the war has weakened his hand

USA Today

THE JOY our politicians must have felt at the recent events in Kosovo could be really useful for Russia. Our politicians might actually realise that a sense of national pride is a very good thing. Now the really important issue is what relations we are going to have with Nato and whether the Russians will end up fighting with them. Then Milosevic will be really happy.

Moskovsky Komsomolets, Russia

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