Ukraine's reaction to the 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence

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Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia was enacted on Sunday, 17 February 2008 by a unanimous vote of the Assembly of Kosovo.[1] All 11 representatives of the Serb minority boycotted the proceedings.[2] International reaction was mixed, and the world community continues to be divided on the issue of the international recognition of Kosovo. Ukraine's reaction to the 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence was originally one of neutrality, but it has since become more strongly opposed to independence.


On 18 February 2008, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that "The multilateral mechanisms, such as EU, OSCE, UN, should play an important role".[3] On 22 February 2008, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Volodymyr Ohryzko, said that Ukraine was "checking all possibilities" on Kosovo recognition but cautioned that the process would "take some time." Ohryzko went on to say that he understood the US arguments very well, but was confident that they also understood the sensitivities of this issue for Ukraine.[4] Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko stated on 19 February 2008 that Ukraine's position on the situation is to first of all follow national interests and international law. He emphasised that Ukraine's position proceeds from the opinion that the decision on recognising Kosovo or not requires timing for most of the world's countries. "We proceed from hope that resources of regulation through talks have not been yet exhausted."[5] On 16 April 2008, the Office of Mass Media Relations of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Ukraine Secretariat issued the following statement on the Government Portal official website: "Ukraine will decide on its position concerning [the] independence of Kosovo after [a] corresponding assessment by international institutions". Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko furthermore stated that Ukraine lies in the neighbourhood of several countries facing territorial problems and "That's why before taking any decision, Ukraine wishes to know whether Kosovo is already a norm, a common practice or a unique event the world should react on". Tymoshenko noted that Ukraine is holding multilateral diplomatic consultations, with the aim of establishing how Kosovo independence is perceived, which will allow it to determine its stand in this issue.[6] On 22 October 2008, Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Yeliseyev stated that Ukraine intends to maintain its neutral stance. "If Ukraine chooses any position, the security of our peacemakers will be put in question," he said.[7] On 4 December 2008, speaking at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe meeting about separatism that took place in 2008, Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko said that "Ukraine will never make a compromise on question of territorial integrity of any state".[8]

In October 2009, Ukrainian Ambassador to Russia Kostyantyn Gryshchenko said that there are no cases in which Ukraine should recognise Kosovo, Abkhazia or South Ossetia.[9]

On 4 June 2010, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said, "I have never recognized Abkhazia, South Ossetia or Kosovo's independence. This is a violation of international law".[10] On 27 July 2010, Press Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine Oleksandr Dikusarov said, "Ukraine's position not to recognize the independence of Kosovo remains unchanged: Relying on basic international legal documents… Ukraine is committed to the principle of absolute respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states with recognized international borders".[11]

The 9 October 2016 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification match Ukraine v Kosovo was played in the Marshal Józef Piłsudski Stadium in Kraków, Poland, due to Ukraine's non-recognition of Kosovo's travel documents.[12][13]


  1. ^ Kosovo MPs proclaim independence, BBC, 2008-02-17
  2. ^ Transkript: Nga Seanca Plenare e Jashtëzakonshme Solemne e Kuvendit Të Kosovës Me Rastin e Shpalljes Së Pavarësisë, Të Mbajtur Më 17 Shkurt 2008, Republic of Kosovo Assembly, 2008-02-17 (in Albanian)
  3. ^ Statement on Kosovo by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, MFA of Ukraine, 2008-02-18
  4. ^ Ukraine: still considering Kosovo recognition, but long process ahead, American Embassy, Kiev (released by Wikileaks), 2008-02-22
  5. ^ President comments on Kosovo recognition issue, President of Ukraine website, 2008-02-19
  6. ^ Yulia Tymoshenko: Ukraine will determine its stance concerning Kosovo independence after respective evaluation of international institutions, Office of mass media relations of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Secretariat, 2008-04-16
  7. ^ Ukraine's stance on Kosovo dictated by its desire to keep neutral status, Unian news agency, 2008-10-22
  8. ^ Огрызко обещает, что Украина никогда не признает республики типа Косово или Абхазии, Segodnya, 2008-12-04 (in Ukrainian)
  9. ^ Грищенко считает правильным непризнание Косово, Абхазии и Южной Осетии,, 2009-10-11 (in Russian) Archived October 2, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ Yanukovych: Recognition of independence of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Kosovo violates international law, Kyiv Post, 2010-06-04
  11. ^ Ukraine not to change position on Kosovo in wake of United Nations Court judgment, Kyiv Post, 2010-07-27
  12. ^ "Ukraine's national teams to play Kosovo at neutral venues". InSerbia. 6 September 2016. 
  13. ^ "Ukraine beats nomadic Kosovo 3-0 to end winless run". Yahoo! Sports. 9 September 2016.