Another important measure to enhance the security and a normal life of the people in Kosovo was taken through the efforts of the international peace-keeping forces, including the Russian Grouping of Forces this year. The statement to this effect was made by Commander of the Russian Grouping of Forces in Kosovo, Major-General Nikolai Kriventsov.
He said that the Russian Grouping of Forces numbers 650 soldiers and officers who every day perform peacekeeping duties independently or together with multinational KFOR brigades, the UN civil police mission and Kosovo police. In particular, the Russian servicemen and other KFOR units are guaranteeing the smooth operation of Pristina Airport, protecting other strategic facilities and providing humanitarian and medical assistance to the population.
In 2002, 60 rifles, over 12,000 items of ammunition of different caliber, 30 shells and mines, were confiscated and taken from the local population. About 10,000 people were provided with medical assistance including a number of complicate surgeries, the commander stressed. The Russian peacekeepers have published and disseminated more than 30,000 leaflets in Albanian and Serbian, five radio stations broadcast the 576 hours of the Russky Chas (Russian Hour) program. The Command of the Russian Grouping of Forces paid a great attention to national TV program during this time.
Since June 1999 till now the Russia servicemen in Kosovo have confiscated 800 rifles, a huge amount of ammunition, about 3 kg of drugs, detained about 1,100 people accused of possessing weapons and committing crimes, and neutralized over 12,000 explosives.
Austria does not intend to expel Russian diplomats because of the spy scandal