Serbia mobilizes forces near Kosovo
The directives of Serbia's president to place the army on full combat alert follow recent clashes in Kosovo between Serbs and the Kosovar police.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has mobilized the army and ordered units to move close to Kosovo, the Tanjung Agency reported Saturday.
The President's directives to place the army on full combat alert follow recent clashes in Kosovo between Serbs and the Kosovar police as the former protested against the newly elected Albanian mayor.
The Serbs of Kosovo, who consider the region to be part of mainland Serbia, boycotted the municipal elections and thus consider the mayor to be illegitimate.
The Pristina authorities have been attempting to install ethnically Albanian mayors in the north of the province after the April 23 local elections in northern Kosovo.
As a result of this, violent clashes erupted in front of administrative buildings in the country's north, Kosovar media reported.
Local media reported on Friday that police forces of the self-proclaimed republic of Kosovo forced their way into an administrative building belonging to the northern municipality of Leposaviq and occupied it after two other buildings were raided in Zvecan and Zubin Potok.
According to reports, the police used tear gas and stun grenades on protesters. Moreover, telephone services were shut off in Leposavic and alarm sirens blared in the northern municipality of Mitrovica.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced on Friday that the Serbian army was put on high alert because of the situation while also demanding that NATO "urgently stop violence against Serbs."
In 2008, Kosovo seceded from Serbia and unilaterally declared its independence from the country. An agreement to improve relations between Serbia and Kosovo was struck in 2013, but the conversation quickly came to a halt.
Tensions at the border have been increasing for nearly a year now, since mid-2022, occasionally rising into road closures in northern Kosovo.
In early March, Vucic announced that he was not willing to recognize Kosovo's independence nor permit it to join the United Nations despite heightened EU pressure to isolate his country.
Serbia's leader also revealed that the European Union has threatened to isolate Serbia and pull out all investments if the proposed Kosovo agreement was discarded.