There was once a bloody war in Kosovo. The conflict is peaceful but not completely resolved. Concerns are growing that tensions are rising in northern Kosovo, now bordering Serbia. According to the Kosovan newspaper Koha Ditore, the border crossing between Serbia and Kosovo is currently blocked by Serbian activists with trucks.
According to the news site, the Kosovo Police, the police units of the Republic of Kosovo, then closed the Brënjak and Jarinje intersections. Police in Pristina said late Sunday evening that unknown persons opened fire in the direction of Kosovan police officers, but no one was injured. Kosovan citizens were invited to temporarily move to other border crossings. Reports on this cannot yet be independently verified.
According to Kosovan media, air raid sirens were heard in the northern part of the city of Mitrovica since noon. Mitrovica is located in Kosovo. However, the north of the city is mostly inhabited by ethnic Serbs, while the southern part of the city is mostly inhabited by Kosovar Albanians.
Controversy over new terms for Serbs in Kosovo may escalate
The current controversy centers around new regulations that the Kosovar government in Pristina wants to impose on Serbs in Kosovo. As of August 1, Serbs must transfer their Belgrade-issued identity documents to Kosovo. So far they have been using documents issued by the Serbian authorities. Pristina no longer wants to recognize them because Serbia demands the same from the Kosovars. In addition, Kosovo Serbs will use Kosovo license plates in the future and use them to drive within Kosovo. Belgrade requires Serbian license plates from Kosovan citizens. Until now, Serbs have been using Serbian license plates, which are issued by local authorities in northern Kosovo.
Ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo do not recognize the young republic’s government. For the Serbian minority in Kosovo, the region is still part of Serbia. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Belgrade does not recognize Kosovo’s independence, as do Russia, China and other Belgrade allies. However, Germany, the United States and most Western countries see Kosovo as independent.
The two parts of the city are separated by a river. The Central Bridge in Mitrovica is a symbol of Kosovo’s fragile peace. The media also indicated that the international peacekeeping group KFOR is monitoring the situation. A total of 4,000 soldiers from 28 countries are serving in Kosovo as part of KFOR, including about 70 Bundeswehr soldiers in Kosovo.
The Serbian president and Kosovo’s prime minister have called for peace
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurdi have both called on citizens of both countries to remain calm. In his speech, Kurdi described the hours and days ahead as a “challenge” for the Kosovars. He opposed “Serbian chauvinism”. Serbian President Vučić said that Serbia “has never been in a more complicated and difficult situation than today”. He called for peace, but added that Serbia was ready in the event of a conflict.
The Serbian Defense Ministry contradicted reports that troops had entered Kosovo. “Serbia did not cross the administrative border and did not occupy the territory of Kosovo and Metohija in any way,” said one. Notification on the website of the Ministry. Belgrade accuses politicians and media of stoking tensions in Kosovo.
Serbian ruling party MP
Serbian parliamentarian Vladimir Đukanović had already tweeted in the afternoon. “Everything points to the fact that Serbia will be forced to start destroying the Balkans. I hope I’m wrong.” The tweet, linked to tensions on the Kosovo border, has raised fears that Serbia could use Europe’s attention on Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine to move ahead with Kosovo in its shadow.
Given Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, fears are growing in Europe that war could break out into the open again in Kosovo. In 1999, NATO bombed Serbia, forcing the regime of Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic to end fighting in Kosovo. UN A lead peacekeeping force then moved into Kosovo, in which German armed forces also participated. The so-called KFOR tried to maintain peace between the Kosovar Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo. However, repeated violent clashes broke out. Current Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić was Minister of Information in the Milosevic government in 1999.
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