Militant Serbs set up barricades on Sunday in the predominantly Serb north of Kosovo around Mitrovica. Unidentified persons opened fire in the direction of Kosovan police officers. No one was injured, police in Pristina said Sunday evening.
NATO mission KFOR reported in the evening that the security situation is tense. He is monitoring the situation closely and, according to his mandate, is “ready to intervene if stability is threatened.”
Tensions flared as Kosovan authorities would not recognize Serbian identity documents at border crossings from Monday (00:00). Serbs with such documents must keep a temporary document issued at the border. Also, the new rules will apply to the number plates of car owners.
As part of the so-called reciprocity, the Kosovar government now implements a policy of reciprocity. Citizens from Kosovo have long had to present a temporary document when crossing the border into Serbia, as Serbian authorities do not recognize Kosovar documents.
Militant Serbs, some of them wearing masks, blocked access roads to two border crossings into Serbia with barricades on Sunday. Kosovo, now almost entirely inhabited by Albanians, belongs to Serbia. It declared itself independent in 2008. Serbia does not recognize the state of Kosovo and claims its territory for itself.
The Swiss Army has been involved in the Kosovo peacekeeping mission KFOR since 1999 with Switzerland.
In a statement released late Sunday, the government of Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurdi, 47, stepped down temporarily to ease the tense situation.
Kurdi said on Twitter that his government, with the cooperation of international allies, is pledging to postpone the newly planned entry rules for 30 days. The prerequisite is that all obstructions must be removed and complete freedom of movement restored. Kurdi also confirmed that police forces were fired upon.
EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell (75) welcomed the postponement of entry rules. He expects roadblocks and blockades to be lifted immediately.
“The Destruction of the Balkans”
According to TV channel N1, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, 52, had previously said that Serbia “has never been in a more complicated and difficult situation than today”. Vucic called on all sides to keep the peace, but warned on Sunday: “If you don’t want to keep the peace, I tell you Serbia will win.”
Serbian nationalist politician and talk show host Vladimir Dukanovic (43) He wrote on Twitter the same day: “Everything seems to me as if Serbia is being forced to start destroying the Balkans.” Russia used the term to justify its attack on Ukraine in February. Yes, “I’d love to be wrong,” Dukanovic says.
From Moscow, Marija Zakharova (46), spokeswoman for Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (72), reported on the crisis: “Russia calls on Pristina and the United States and the EU behind it to stop provocations and respect the rights. Serbs in Kosovo.” “The development of such cases is further proof of the failure of the EU’s mediation work,” Zakharova said.
Sirens are wailing
According to a Kosovo portal published in Switzerland “Township 27” Serbs have been blocking roads in the area to prevent migrants from returning to Switzerland and EU countries after the summer holidays. Hundreds of Kosovan police officers are stationed along the border with Serbia, with warning sirens heard during the battle. (CAS/SDA)