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Serbia hails Russia's UN veto on Srebrenica but victims angry

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Serbia on Wednesday hailed Russia's veto on a draft UN Security Council resolution recognising the 1995 Srebrenica massacre as a genocide, but a representative of victims' families said it would make reconciliation impossible.

"Not only was the stigmatisation of the entire Serbian people as genocidal prevented, but Russia today showed and proved that it has been a real and honest friend," Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said in a statement.

"This is a great day for Serbia."

Belgrade was upset with a draft UN resolution submitted by Britain which called for the Security Council to recognise the mass murder of 8,000 Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995 as genocide.

But in Sarajevo, Munira Subasic, the head of the Mothers of Srebrenica, told AFP that Russia's veto "would make trust and reconciliation impossible".

"We are not surprised by such a decision... Russia is actually supporting criminals, those who killed our children," Subasic said.

"By deciding (to veto) Russia has left the door open for a new war," she added.

Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the start of the killing, which two international courts have declared a genocide.

The end of the 1992-1995 war saw Bosnia divided into two semi-independent entities -- a Serb-run Republika Srpska and Croat-Muslim Federation.

Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik welcomed the Russian veto, thanking Moscow for "preventing the adoption of a resolution that would have complicated the situation and deepened divisions within Bosnia".

Dodik recently dismissed the massacre -- the worst atrocity on European soil since World War II -- as "a lie".

Republika Srpska officials in Sarajevo have nonetheless not objected for Saturday to mark a day of mourning throughout the former Yugoslavian republic.

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