Kosovo Serbs block northern Kosovo – situation still tense

The security situation in northern Kosovo is tense, KFOR has warned and declared its readiness to intervene if stability was threatened, in accordance with its mandate.

The Kosovo government postponed the implementation of decisions on Serbian car  number plates and documents for 30 days following the tensions in northern Kosovo and the Serbian blockade of roads on the border with Serbia, reports Radio Free Europe.

Earlier, the US Ambassador in Pristina, Jeff Hovenier had met with Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani and Prime Minister Albin Kurti and asked for a postponement of the implementation of the abovementioned decisions, which were supposed to come into practice on Monday, 1st August.

On Sunday, after Serbs blocked the roads at the border crossings with Serbia in northern Kosovo, Jarinje and Brnjak, the Kosovo Police said that gunshots were heard at some points and some were directed at police units, but nobody was injured

In northern Kosovo, local residents of Serbian nationality blocked the main road by parking trucks not far from the Jarinje border crossing, which is located in the municipality of Leposavic, according to local media reports. The Kosovo Police confirmed that the Jarinje and Brnjak border crossings are closed to traffic. The police say that the decision to close the border crossings was made after local Serbs blocked the roads leading to these crossings.

It was added that the police have informed citizens to use other border crossings. In contrast, the situation on the main bridge in Kosovska Mitrovica, which divides the northern and southern parts of the city, is calm. There are several KFOR vehicles and Italian carabinieri stationed on the bridge, but no Kosovo Police. At the same time, the situation is calm in the southern part of the town.

KFOR announced last night that the security situation in northern Kosovo is tense, it is monitoring it closely and is ready to intervene if stability is threatened.

“The overall security situation in the northern Kosovo municipalities is tense. The KFOR mission is monitoring it closely and is ready to intervene if stability was threatened, in accordance with its mandate stated in the UN Security Council Resolution 1244,” KFOR has said and added that the KFOR commander is in contact with all relevant stakeholders, including representatives of Kosovo’s security organisations and the Chief of Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces.

Kosovar media outlet, Lajmi.net, quoted the Kosovo police which said that “citizens informed them that, in some cases, Albanian citizens were detained, mistreated and sustained injuries, while their vehicles were damaged by suspected participants in the road blockade,”

The Serbian Ministry of Defence said announced last night that the Serbian army has not entered the territory of Kosovo. “Due to the large amount of disinformation that the administration in Pristina deliberately puts out and which is disseminating through fake accounts on social networks and some websites, which all claim that there was some kind of conflict between the Serbian army and the Kosovo police, the Ministry of Defence states that the army has not crossed the administrative border and has in no way entered the territory of Kosovo,” the press release reads.

(Al-Jazeera Balkans, 31.07.2022)




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