Europe

Serbia sends train to Kosovo north despite Pristina protest

  • A railroad worker stands by the first train decorated with letters that read "Kosovo is Serbian" written in twenty languages departing from the Belgrade to Mitrovica, Kosovo at Belgrade's railway station, Serbia, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. Serbia has launched a railway link to Serb-dominated northern Kosovo despite protests from authorities in Pristina who described the move as a provocation and an aggressive violation of Kosovo's sovereignty. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

    A railroad worker stands by the first train decorated with letters that read "Kosovo is Serbian" written in twenty languages departing from the Belgrade to Mitrovica, Kosovo at Belgrade's railway station, Serbia, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. Serbia has launched a railway link to Serb-dominated northern Kosovo despite protests from authorities in Pristina who described the move as a provocation and an aggressive violation of Kosovo's sovereignty. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)  (The Associated Press)

  • A man dressed in Serbian national costume passes by a train decorated with "Kosovo is Serbian" inscribed in twenty world languages before it departs from Belgrade to Mitrovica, Kosovo at Belgrade's railway station, Serbia, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. Serbia has launched a railway link to Serb-dominated northern Kosovo despite protests from authorities in Pristina who described the move as a provocation and an aggressive violation of Kosovo's sovereignty. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

    A man dressed in Serbian national costume passes by a train decorated with "Kosovo is Serbian" inscribed in twenty world languages before it departs from Belgrade to Mitrovica, Kosovo at Belgrade's railway station, Serbia, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. Serbia has launched a railway link to Serb-dominated northern Kosovo despite protests from authorities in Pristina who described the move as a provocation and an aggressive violation of Kosovo's sovereignty. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)  (The Associated Press)

  • A railroad worker walks by the first train decorated with letters that read "Kosovo is Serbian" written in twenty languages departing from the Belgrade to Mitrovica, Kosovo at Belgrade's railway station, Serbia, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. Serbia has launched a railway link to Serb-dominated northern Kosovo despite protests from authorities in Pristina who described the move as a provocation and an aggressive violation of Kosovo's sovereignty. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

    A railroad worker walks by the first train decorated with letters that read "Kosovo is Serbian" written in twenty languages departing from the Belgrade to Mitrovica, Kosovo at Belgrade's railway station, Serbia, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. Serbia has launched a railway link to Serb-dominated northern Kosovo despite protests from authorities in Pristina who described the move as a provocation and an aggressive violation of Kosovo's sovereignty. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)  (The Associated Press)

Serbia has launched a railway service to Serb-dominated northern Kosovo despite protests from the government in Pristina which called it a provocation and an aggressive violation of its sovereignty.

Serbian officials in Belgrade on Saturday saw off a Russian-made train decorated with the Serb flags, churches, monasteries and medieval towns, and inscribed with "Kosovo is Serbian" in 20 world languages.

A former Serbian province, Kosovo declared independence in 2008, but Belgrade does not recognize the split and has sought to maintain influence in Kosovo's north where most of the Serb minority is located.

Saturday's train to Mitrovica was a promotional event; a regular schedule has not been announced.

Kosovo State Minister Edita Tahiri Friday accused Serbia of threatening regional stability and urged the European Union to intervene.