The first British soldiers have arrived in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, to reinforce the NATO peacekeeping mission KFOR in view of tensions between Serbia and Kosovo. NATO and the British Ministry of Defense announced this in the evening. At the request of the defense alliance, London previously announced it would bolster the current 400-strong British force with 200 extra soldiers as part of annual exercises in Kosovo.
“This is a prudent move to ensure that KFOR has the necessary forces to fulfill its UN mandate and ensure a secure environment and freedom of movement for all people in Kosovo,” NATO spokesperson X (formerly Twitter) wrote on the platform. The British Ministry of Defense said the troops would be under NATO command to carry out operations under the command of KFOR.
Fresh tensions were sparked by an attack by an armed Serbian commando group on Kosovar police officers in northern Kosovo in late September. Three Serb attackers and a Kosovar police officer were killed.
Kosovo, now almost exclusively inhabited by Albanians, seceded from Serbia with NATO help in 1999 and declared independence in 2008. More than 100 countries, including Germany, recognize the independence, but not Serbia, which is reclaiming its former province.
A company of 155 additional soldiers will be stationed in Kosovo for a year from April 2024, the German Defense Ministry announced on Friday. The expansion was decided regardless of recent tensions.