Serbia seeks greater Russian role in talks with Kosovo

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia is seeking a greater Russian role in European Union-mediated talks with the former province of Kosovo, which could further strain the Balkan country's relations with the West.

Serbia's Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said after meeting his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, on Wednesday in Moscow that "Serbia cannot defend its state interests without the assistance of the Russian Federation."

Dacic also said Serbia "would not do anything without consulting Russia."

The EU-sponsored talks on normalizing ties have been stalled over the Kosovo government's 100% tariff on goods imported from Serbia, which Belgrade wants lifted.

While Serbia and Russia don't recognize Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence, the U.S. and most of the West do.

Although it formally seeks EU membership, Serbia has gradually been shifting toward Russia.