December 4, 2023

Pristina says the Serbian army is “advancing from three different directions”

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The US government spoke of an “unprecedented” deployment of Serb forces in Kosovo. © Visar Kryzio / German Press Agency

Fighting escalates in northern Kosovo and NATO sends additional forces. According to the Kosovo government, Serb forces will continue their advance.

Update from September 30 at 10pm: In light of recent tensions in the conflict in Kosovo, the Foreign Ministry called on the Serbian government in Belgrade to de-escalate. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote on the Internet platform X (formerly Twitter): There should be no further escalation between Serbia and Kosovo. “It is important that Serbia immediately reduces the number of its forces on the border.” Berlin and its partners are conducting “intensive contacts” with all parties. The political process must continue “urgently.”

Kosovo sounds the alarm: Serbian army “advancing from three different directions”

The conflict between Serbia and Kosovo is now taking on dangerous dimensions. Pristina accused Belgrade of advancing its military forces towards Kosovo “from three different directions.” This was stated in a letter from the Kosovo government, which was also sent to the German News Agency via email.

This advance represents “possible military aggression against the Republic of Kosovo.” Einheiten der Zweiten Brigade der serbischen Armee seien aus Richtung Raska in Richtung der Nordgrenze Kosovos gezogen, Einheiten der Zweiten Brigade aus der Region Nis in der Richtung der Nordöstlichen Grenze und Einheiten der Vierten Brigade aus der Region Franje der Richtung der Ostgrenze, Schrieb die Regierung in Pristina tracking.

Serbia sent the army and police to 48 forward operating bases along the border with Kosovo, in Serbian territory, a few kilometers from the Kosovo border. Serbia deployed anti-aircraft systems and heavy artillery. The government statement said that Kosovo, in coordination with international partners, is “more determined than ever to protect its territorial integrity.”

US concerned about conflict in Kosovo: ‘Advanced Serb artillery deployed’

Update from September 30, 11:30 a.m.: The US government is monitoring an “unprecedented” deployment of Serb forces on the border with Kosovo. This was stated by National Security Council Communications Director John Kirby in Washington. It is an “unprecedented deployment of advanced Serbian artillery, tanks and mechanized infantry units.” This was reported by the German News Agency (DPA) on Saturday, September 30. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called on Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in a phone call to return “immediately” to “stop escalation and dialogue.”

First report from September 30:

BRUSSELS/PRISTINA – After heavy fighting between Serbian paramilitaries and Kosovo police in northern Kosovo, NATO is strengthening the KFOR-led protection force. The North Atlantic Council, the organisation’s main decision-making body, has approved the deployment of additional forces to the small Balkan country, the alliance announced on Friday (September 29) in Brussels. No information was provided about the number of additional soldiers.

According to information received from German News Agency (DPA) Reinforcements could be provided by Great Britain. The Ministry of Defense in London announced just a few months ago that the UK wants to make a “decisive contribution” to the security force until at least 2026.

A senior politician is allegedly behind the attack in northern Kosovo

A heavily armed Serb commando group of 30 men took up positions in the town of Banjska near Mitrovica last Sunday, September 24, and engaged in battles with Kosovo police. At least three Serb attackers and a Kosovar police officer were killed. On the other hand, the chief Serbian politician and businessman in Kosovo, Milan Radojicic, claimed responsibility for the attack that occurred in northern Kosovo five days ago.

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“I decided to undertake this action because all the methods of resistance used so far have not brought any improvement in the lives of the Serbian people,” Radojicic wrote in a statement read to the press by his lawyer in Belgrade on Friday. At the same time, he announced that he would resign as vice president of the Serbian List, the Kosovo Serb party. Where Radoicic is currently located is unknown.

But the government in Pristina accuses Belgrade of training, equipping, financing and inciting paramilitary groups. Kosovo Sent to destabilize the country. The Serbian leadership denies these accusations.

NATO forces stationed in the Balkans: There are also German soldiers

Kosovo, populated almost exclusively by Albanians, seceded from Serbia in 1999 with NATO help and declared independence in 2008. More than 100 countries, including Germany, recognize independence. The International Security Force in Kosovo has been responsible for ensuring security in the country since 1999.

According to the latest information, it currently has about 4,500 soldiers from a total of 27 NATO countries and partner countries. Germany recently participated in the Kosovo Force mission with about 80 soldiers. NATO had already decided to increase its presence in Kosovo by 700 troops in May. And that was the end of the matter Serb mobs rioted against KFOR soldiers Reaction in northern Kosovo. At that time, 30 Italian and Hungarian soldiers and more than 50 Serbs were injured. (NAC/EPA)