NATO probing shooting incident in tense Kosovo north

NATO probing shooting incident in tense Kosovo north

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Nato-led peacekeepers in Kosovo said Monday they were investigating a shooting incident in the tense northern region, urging calm as Serbia’s top military officials raised war readiness. inspected his troops on the border with Kosovo in a demonstration of

In Zubin Potok, a town in northern Kosovo where ethnic Serb residents have been erecting road blocks for the past two weeks and where tensions between the two former enemies are at an all-time high, the event occurred on Sunday night.

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The incident, which included an unknown number of persons, occurred near one of the KFOR patrols, according to the peacekeepers. No one was hurt, according to a statement, and “we are attempting to establish all the facts.”

Serbia’s Defense Minister and Chief of Army Staff traveled to the border with Kosovo, praising the combat readiness of Serbian troops and their firepower, including howitzers and other military hardware. Serbia, which has been armed through Russian donations and military purchases, has long been a swordsmanship and threatening force against its former province.

Kosovo is still a potential flashpoint in the Balkans after the 1998–1999 conflict, which was halted by NATO intervention. The 2008 declaration of independence by Serbia’s former province is not recognised, and Western attempts to mediate a resolution have so far been unsuccessful.

NATO probing shooting incident in tense Kosovo north

“Everyone engaged must avoid using language or taking acts that could inflame the situation, according to a statement from KFOR. We anticipate that all participants will avoid provocative displays of force and look for the best way to ensure the safety and security of all communities.”

Since the commencement of Russia’s war in Ukraine, people have become more afraid of violence. While Serbia has leaned on Russia and China to uphold its claim to the province, the United States and the majority of the European Union nations have recognised Kosovo’s independence.

As international efforts to intensify mediation efforts have increased, tensions in Kosovo have risen in recent weeks and months on a variety of topics. The arrest of a former Serb police officer most recently prompted ethnic Serbs in the north to construct roadblocks in protest.

Serbs in the north had previously walked out of Kosovo’s institutions, claiming oppression by the Kosovo authorities. Belgrade has repeatedly warned that it will defend local Serbs “by all means” if they are attacked.

The Kosovo administration has requested that NATO troops remove Serb barriers. These troops were sent after the trans-Atlantic alliance bombed Kosovo in 1999 to compel Serbia to depart. Premier Albin Kurti, KFOR commander Major General Angelo Michele Ristuccia, and the leader of the EU law and order mission Lars-Gunnar Vigermark met on Monday, according to a tweet from KFOR.

Kurti’s office said that “the general conclusion from this meeting is that freedom of movement should be restored and there should be no barricades on any road.”

Serbia held a top-level meeting after the shooting incident on Sunday, with the army chief later visiting the southern town of Raska near Kosovo, where Serbian army troops are based. Local media played a video in which shots and screams were heard, but did not clearly show what happened at one of the barricades.

Aleksandar Vucic, the populist president of Serbia, gave the army “clear and specific” instructions, General Milan Mojsilovic claimed to local media. According to state-run RTS television, Mojsilovic called the situation “serious” and said that it necessitated a “Serbian military presence along the administrative line” with Kosovo.

On Monday, the region’s streets were filled with Serbian army vehicles, and the defence minister of the Balkan nation also came. A defense ministry statement said Serbian Defense Minister Milos Vucevic, General Mojsilovic and other senior military officials discussed the security situation during a meeting in Raska.

Serbia has asked KFOR to deploy 1,000 of its troops in the Serb-populated north of Kosovo to protect Kosovo Serbs from alleged persecution by ethnic Albanians, who are the majority in the country. The request has not yet been made.

Escalating tensions, Serbian Patriarch Porfirije was denied entry into Kosovo at a border crossing on Monday after saying he wanted to deliver a peace message ahead of Serbian Orthodox Christmas, which is celebrated on January 7.

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