Kosovan interior minister Xhelal svecla stated on Tuesday (27/12/12) that Serbia wanted to destabilize Kosovo with the help of the Serb minorities living in the north. They have been blocking roads and protesting for almost three weeks.
Tuesday saw new barricades being erected by Serbs in northern Kosovo’s Mitrovica. This is an area that has been ethnically divided. Just hours after Serbia declared it was on the most severe combat alert, this new barricade was erected by Serbs in northern Kosovo’s city of Mitrovica.
Svecla stated: “It’s precisely Serbia, influenced Russia, that has raised a military readiness status and is ordering the construction of new barricades to justify the protection criminal groups that terrorize… citizens of Serb ethnicity living in Kosovo.”
Serbia denies trying to destabilize its neighbour and says it wants to protect its minorities. Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vucic said Tuesday that Serbia would “continue fighting to find compromise solutions and fight for peace”.
Monday night, Belgrade stated that its army and police were on high alert due to recent events and fears that Kosovo would attack Serbs.
After the attack on serving officers by an ex-Serb officer on 10 December, Serbs of northern Kosovo have set up numerous roadblocks around Mitrovica.
NATO intervened after the 1998-1999 war in Kosovo to protect ethnic Albanians. Kosovo was an Albanian-majority country that declared independence.
Kosovo is not a United Nations member. Five EU countries, including Spain, Greece, Romania, Slovakia, Slovakia and Cyprus, have rejected to recognize Kosovo’s independence.
Russia, Serbia’s historical ally, blocks Kosovo’s accession to United Nations.
Around 50,000 Serbs live in the northern region of Kosovo. They are against the recognition of the Pristina government or state. They consider Belgrade their capital.
Kosovo’s government claimed that police were available and able to respond to their request to remove barricades, but they waited to hear back from NATO’s KFOR Kosovo peacekeeping force.
Vucic said that talks are ongoing with diplomats of other countries to find a solution to the crisis.
Tuesday morning saw trucks parked in Mitrovica, blocking the road that connects the Serb-majority region of the town to the Albanian-majority portion.
Before they can remove the barricades, the Serbs demand the release of the officer held in custody as well as other demands.
Ethnic Serb mayors in northern Kosovan and 600 police officers resigned last month as protest against a Kosovo government decision to replace Serbian-issued plates with Pristina.
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Union decided to increase its efforts in improving relations with six Balkan states, including Albania (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Montenegro, and North Macedonia. Despite the EU’s continued resistance to expanding further, this was achieved.
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