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600 British troops to be sent to Kosovo

Britain is to send 600 soldiers to Kosovo to assist Nato with peacekeeping activities, Defence Secretary Des Browne announced today.

The troops from 2nd Battalion The Rifles are to go to the newly-independent Balkan state at the end of May for a one-month deployment, ending on 30 June.

Their deployment comes in response to a request from Nato for assistance in dealing with sporadic bursts of violence between Kosovo's ethnic Albanians and its minority Serbian population.

The troops have been on standby since January.

Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority declared independence from Serbia in February in a move that had Western backing but was rejected by Serbia and its ally Russia.