Putin suggested that he was important in the occupation of the Kosovo airport

Russian President Vladimir Putin has indicated that he was a key figure in the Russian occupation of Kosovo Airport at the end of the 1999 war.

The occupation of Slatina airport outside the capital Pristina has caused much tension between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War.

In an interview on state television on Sunday, Putin, then head of the country's Security Council, said that the Chief of the Army, Anatoly Qasim, had approached him about the plan.

"And I said to him: 'If you think it's fair, do it,'" Putin said.

Russia, which opposed the denial of NATO peace in Kosovo, dispatched peacekeepers from Bosnia to Kosovo and took over the airport.

General Wesley Clark, Supreme Commander of NATO, wanted to block the runway of the airport so that Russia could not use it, but British peacekeeper Lieutenant General Michael Jackson rejected the order. The report later stated that Jackson claimed that such a move would "start a third world war."

The deadlock was resolved when Russian forces were allowed to deploy outside of NATO command in Kosovo.

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