- After heavy fighting between Serbian paramilitaries and Kosovo police officers in northern Kosovo, NATO is strengthening its protection force.
- The North Atlantic Council, the organization’s main decision-making body, agreed to deploy additional military forces in the small Balkan country, the alliance announced in Brussels.
- The coalition did not provide any information about the number of additional soldiers.
According to information from the German News Agency, it is possible that Great Britain will provide reinforcements. 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.
This is how the latest escalation happened
A heavily armed Serb commando group of 30 took up positions in the town of Banjska near Mitrovica on Sunday and engaged in battles with Kosovo police. At least three Serb attackers and a Kosovar police officer were killed.
The government in Pristina accuses Belgrade of training, equipping, financing and sending paramilitary forces to Kosovo in order to destabilize the country. The Serbian leadership denies these accusations, but has so far failed to provide a conclusive explanation about the band’s origins and leadership responsibilities.
Kosovo, populated almost exclusively by Albanians, seceded from Serbia with NATO help in 1999 and declared independence in 2008. More than 100 countries, including Switzerland, recognize independence. The KFOR force 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. Switzerland recently participated in Operation KFOR with about 195 volunteers. NATO had already decided to increase its presence in Kosovo by 700 troops in May. This was in response to serious riots by Serb mobs against KFOR soldiers in northern Kosovo. At that time, 30 Italian and Hungarian soldiers and more than 50 Serbs were injured.
Radoicic admits to assault
Prominent Serbian businessman and politician Milan Radojicic claimed responsibility for the attack that occurred last Sunday. “I decided to do this because all the resistance methods used so far have not brought any improvement in the lives of the Serbian people (in Kosovo),” he 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.
Council of Europe: Switzerland supports Kosovo
Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti stressed the need for Swiss support for Kosovo. In an interview, Kurti said that in order to become a member of the Council of Europe, the country needs friends who “truly represent us.”
Kosovo aims to join the Council of Europe next year, Kurti said in an interview with the newspaper “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” published on Friday. First of all, it is about geopolitics. The BRICS countries, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, will not recognize Kosovo. “We need Switzerland’s support,” Kurti said. The interview was conducted after his meeting with Federal President Alain Berset a week ago.
Switzerland supports Kosovo’s desired admission to the Council of Europe, the Federal Ministry of the Interior (EDI) announced after the meeting. This listing would enable all residents of the country – including members of the Serb minority – to access the European Court of Human Rights.
Radojicic claimed in his statement that he carried out this action on his own initiative and did not inform any official body in Serbia about it. After the fierce fighting, NATO announced that it would strengthen the protection force it leads.
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