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Tension flares in northern Kosovo, NATO mission says “ready to intervene” if instability erupts

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Kosovo police said Sunday there was gunfire in the north of the country as barricades were set up on roads to Serbia in protest against the government’s border policy.

NATO Mission in Kosovo (KFOR) said in a statement issued on Sunday.Willing to intervene if stability is threatenedIn northern Kosovo, tensions have remained high for the past few hours. “Our mission is fully focused on the day-to-day implementation of the UN mandate to ensure a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all residents of Kosovo.“, we added in this document, “General tense security situationIn the northern municipalities of the country.

Kosovo police said Sunday there was gunfire in the north of the country as barricades were set up on roads to Serbia in protest against the government’s border policy. Police said in a statement that no one was injured in the shooting. Both piers were closed to traffic. On Sunday evening, hundreds of Kosovo Serbs lined the roads leading to the Jarinje and Brunjak crossings, crowding trucks, tankers and other heavy vehicles, the AFP journalist noted. A crowd gathered around the barricades, intending to spend the night there. Air raid sirens blared for more than three hours in the predominantly Serbian town of North Mitrovica.

Similar tensions in 2021

Starting Monday, according to a decision by the Pristina government, anyone entering Kosovo with a Serbian identity card will have to replace it with a temporary document during their stay in the country. Additionally, Kosovo Serbs carrying registration plates issued in Serbia must replace them with Republic of Kosovo plates within two months.

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Prime Minister Albin Kurti made clear on Sunday that this was a measure of reciprocity, as Serbia, which does not recognize the independence of the former Albanian-majority province declared in 2008, also demands Kosovo from entering its territory. Kosovo’s Serbs do not recognize Pristina’s authority or Kosovo’s independence, and remain loyal to Belgrade, on whom they are economically dependent.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic addressed the nation on Sunday, saying the situation in Kosovo was “not”.It’s never been so complicatedFor Serbia and the Serbs living there. “The atmosphere was boilingMr. Vucic said, “Serbia will winIf the Serbs were attacked. On his part, Albin accused Kurti of triggering Mr. Vucic.trouble». «The next few hours, days and weeks may be difficult and troublesome“, the Kosovar president wrote on Facebook.

Last September, Following Pristina’s decision to ban Serbian license plates in Kosovo’s north, daily demonstrations and traffic blockades at two border posts have sparked heightened tensions. Tensions between the two countries are now at their highest level in years, and Kosovo’s fragile peace is being maintained by a 3,770-strong NATO mission. Italian blue helmets were visible in and around Mitrovica on Sunday. The two countries engaged in EU-sponsored talks in 2013, but efforts to resolve the issues have not made much progress.

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