Russia says EU mission to Kosovo illegal without UN authorization

EU plans to send a mission to Kosovo would be illegal without UN authorization, Russia's top envoy to the separatist province said Monday, according to the Interfax news agency. European Union leaders last week agreed to send a policing and security mission to Kosovo to replace the current United Nations administrative mission, which has been in place since the end of fighting in 1999. The EU announced the decision amid growing expectation that Kosovo is on the verge of declaring independence from Serbia, despite objections from both Serbia and Russia. "The structure of the international presence in Kosovo is agreed to in Security Council Resolution 1244, and it does not give the right to freely change the structure of the international presence ... That demands a decision of the Security Council," the agency quoted Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko as saying.