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Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow will continue to supply natural gas to Serbia on terms favorable to its ally

SOCHI, Russia – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Moscow will continue to supply natural gas to Serbia on terms favorable to its ally.

Putin said he was confident that a new gas supply contract to Serbia would be signed soon to replace the current one which expires at the end of the year.

“We will find a solution that would certainly be acceptable to our Serbian friends,” Putin said at the start of talks at his Black Sea residence in Sochi with visiting Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

Putin also noted that Russia will continue to strongly support Serbia amid recent tensions with Kosovo.

“We support your position on the Kosovo settlement, and I hope the situation will eventually evolve in a way that is in the interests of all people living in the region,” he said.

Kosovo was a Serbian province until a 1998-1999 insurgency by ethnic Albanian rebels unleashed bloody Serbian repression. This prompted NATO to carry out a 78-day bombing campaign to force Serbian troops out of Kosovo. The war claimed more than 10,000 lives. Kosovo declared independence in 2008, but Serbia did not recognize it. Relations between Kosovo and Serbia remain strained despite a dialogue facilitated by the European Union over the past decade to normalize them.

Vucic praised the close ties between Serbia and Russia and notably noted a high level of defense cooperation.

Despite officially seeking EU membership, Serbia has refused to align its foreign policy with the 27-nation bloc and instead strengthened its alliance with Russia and China.

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ABC News

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