Serbia sends train to Kosovo north despite Pristina protest

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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.