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Serbia Deploys Troops on Highest Alert as Clashes Erupt in Kosovo

Tensions escalated on Friday as Serbia placed its troops on the highest state of alert and moved them closer to the border with Kosovo following clashes between ethnic Serbs and Kosovo police. The clashes erupted when Serbs in northern Kosovo attempted to prevent newly-elected ethnic Albanian officials from entering municipal buildings. The situation quickly turned violent, with tear gas deployed and cars set ablaze. In response, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic expressed his concerns and demanded that NATO-led troops stationed in Kosovo protect the Kosovo Serbs. This article delves into the details of the clashes and the subsequent actions taken by Serbia.


Photo: Serbia’s Defence Ministry - | Disclaimer: The photographs used in this article are intended solely for editorial purposes. We do not claim ownership of these images, and they are used under the fair use policy. We have made efforts to ensure that proper credit is given to the respective photographers or copyright holders wherever applicable. We do not assume any liability for the accuracy, legality, or authenticity of the images used in this article.

Clashes and Violence:

The clashes occurred when ethnic Serbs, who make up a majority in northern Kosovo, sought to block the entrance of municipal buildings to prevent recently-elected ethnic Albanian officials from assuming their positions. The tension escalated rapidly, leading to confrontations between the Serbs and Kosovo police. Tear gas was used, and a number of vehicles were set on fire, escalating the violence in the area.


Serbia's Response:

President Aleksandar Vucic swiftly responded to the clashes by declaring a "highest state of alert" and ordering the urgent movement of Serbian troops closer to the border with Kosovo. This move was aimed at ensuring the safety and protection of the Serbian population in the region. Vucic also announced his intention to attend a rally in support of him in Belgrade, following recent mass shootings that claimed multiple lives and left many injured.


Appeal for NATO Intervention:

Citing the violence against Kosovo Serbs, President Vucic demanded that NATO-led troops stationed in Kosovo take action to safeguard the Serbian minority. He expressed his concerns over the situation and stressed the need for protection from the Kosovo police. This appeal highlights the growing tensions and the perceived threat faced by the Serbian population in Kosovo.


Kosovo Police's Perspective:

Kosovo police acknowledged their increased presence in the northern communes of Zvecan, Leposavic, and Zubin Potok, stating that their intention was to assist the newly-elected officials in accessing municipal buildings. However, clashes erupted as protesters threw stun grenades and other objects at the police officers. The police responded with tear gas to disperse the crowd and secure the entrance of the new officials.


U.S. Reaction:

The United States Ambassador to Kosovo, Jeff Hovenier, condemned the actions of the Kosovar authorities in accessing the municipal buildings in the north. In a tweet, he called for an immediate halt to the violence. The international community closely monitors the situation in Kosovo, as tensions between ethnic Serbs and ethnic Albanians have historically been a source of instability in the region.



Conclusion:

The recent clashes between ethnic Serbs and Kosovo police have escalated tensions in the region, leading to Serbia's deployment of troops on the highest state of alert and a demand for NATO intervention. The situation underscores the delicate balance in Kosovo and the need for sustainable solutions that ensure the safety and security of all communities. The international community will continue to monitor the situation closely, hoping for a peaceful resolution to the current tensions and a return to stability in the region.

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