“Members of a Russian motorcycle club known for its allegiance to President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday they are planning a tour linking Russia and Kosovo, a tense ex-Serbian province that declared independence in 2008.

The Night Wolves bikers spoke at the end of a trip to Serbia and a Serb mini-state in Bosnia that they said was designed to promote common Slavic roots of Russian and Serbian nations.

The visit has coincided with a mounting Russian bid to maintain influence in the Balkans, particularly in Serbia, and a spike in tensions with Kosovo, whose statehood Belgrade doesn’t recognize.

The Night Wolves have been blacklisted by the West for supporting Putin’s policies in Ukraine, including the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. The group has strong ties to Putin, who has been shown riding with the club.

Yevgeny Strogov, one of the bikers, told a news conference in Belgrade, Serbia’s capital, that the group wishes to plan a route between Kosovo Polje in Kosovo and the Kulikovo field in Russia, both sites of historic 14th-century battles.” (Washington Post)