Serbia condemns breakaway Kosovo as "false state"

Sun Feb 17, 2008 10:25am EST

(adds details, repeats with UPDATE 1 in headline)

BELGRADE, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica condemned Kosovo as a false state in a televised address to the nation on Sunday, minutes after its mainly Albanian province declared independence.

He said Kosovo was propped up unlawfully by the United States which was "ready to violate the international order for its own military interests".

"Today, this policy of force thinks that it has triumphed by establishing a false state," Kostunica said.

The Serb people will never stop fighting for their freedom, he said. "As long as the Serb people exist, Kosovo will be Serbia."

Kosovo is expecting recognition from the U.S. and most European Union countries. The U.S. spearheaded the 1999 NATO air war that expelled Serb forces from the province to stop the mass killing of civilians in a counter-insurgency crackdown. (Editing by Robert Woodward)