Kosovo is asking the United States to establish a permanent military base in the country. At the same time, the Balkan state is requesting a faster North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) membership.
Kosovo Pleads US for Permanent Military Base, Urges NATO for Faster Membership
Balkan state Kosovo invites the US to put up a long-term military base in the country. It’s also calling for NATO to speed up its membership following Russia’s Ukraine invasion.
The US has already deployed 635 soldiers in Kosovo to maintain peace. It’s a part of NATO’s peacekeeping mission.
“Accelerating Kosovo’s membership in NATO and having a permanent base of American forces is an immediate need to guarantee peace, security and stability in the Western Balkans,” said Kosovo’s Defence Minister Armend Mehaj.
The said Balkan state joined the wagon of other countries that established sanctions against Russia. Mehaj and the Kosovo government are ready to offer help for any military endeavor to Ukraine should the White House ask for it.
Mehaj asked for the reinforcement of the NATO Force in Kosovo and KFOR troops. He is also stipulating a greater existence in Kosovo’s northern part as well as a northern region with a Serb majority. He met with the KFOR commander and Hungarian general Ferenc Kajar and settled for better coordination between the Kosovar security bodies and NATO Force.
The Kosovar minister specified that it’s evident that Russia and its “satellites” want to debilitate Kosovo and the whole Western Balkans region. Pristina aims to contradict these courses along with its allies.
Over 110 countries, which are primarily Western nations, acknowledged the state’s independence on February 17, 2008. However, Serbia, Russia, along four NATO members didn’t honor it. Kosovo isn’t a NATO member yet because of Russia’s objections.
Kosovo Officials Deny Dispatching “Freedom Fighters” to Ukraine
Officials of Kosovo denied they sent “freedom fighters” to Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also allegedly accused Herzegovina, Albania, and Bosnia of doing the same thing.
“Kosovo and some other parts of the Western Balkans are becoming a hotbed of crime. There are terrorists, drug dealers. Mercenaries are recruited there for military conflicts ignited by the US, among others,” Lavrov said.
He added that there’s an intelligence that Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Herzegovina partisan recruitment. These supporters are assigned to neutralize Russian forces where they can also go to Donbass.
Kosovo President’s chief of staff Blerim Vela tweeted that Lavrov’s comments are “fake news alert.” According to him, Russian FM Lavrov’s false accusation is a deception scheme that attempts to legitimize military aggression against Ukraine. Vela added that his country upholds its allies and Ukraine in protecting freedom and democracy.
Albanian former Prime Minister and ruling Socialist MP Pandeli Majko said that Lavrov’s comments were “inventive” comments. He added that Indian TV Channel WION made a report about volunteers who went to Ukraine to help fight Russian forces.
In 2009, Albania allied with NATO and tookpart in several worldwide missions. The KFOR mission in Kosovo comprises some 4,0000 armed forces from 28 countries. NATO armed services are helping Kosovo since 1999 following the Serbian forces and ethnic Albanian separatists’ savage conflict that concluded a 78-day NATO air crusade.
Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic said that based on available information, no Bosnians fought alongside Ukrainian forces. He said he would send an official inquiry to Russia’s embassy in Sarajevo regarding the statement.
Serbia Criticizes Kosovo About Police Strategic Efforts
Serbia’s Office for Kosovo criticized Kosovo for “sabotaging the region” after authorities revealed their expanded logistics capacities in the Bërnjak village border. The Kosovo law enforcement circulated a press release that they sent many containers and other logistic tools to Bërnjak.
According to the press release, “In order to improve the work conditions for police officers working in the border region of Bërnjak, who have continued to work under poor conditions, today the Kosovo Police has sent logistic tools and containers, that will be used by the border police officers to carry out their duties, in the interest of public safety and security.”
Additionally, the press release demonstrates the operation as a component of the Kosovo police’s attempt to better the officers’ work conditions.
However, the information sparked a negative impression from the Office for Kosovo of the Serbian government. It described the announcement as a “treacherous provocation” that aims to “unsettle the region.” Likewise, the office asked Pristina not to aggravate Belgrade, especially since the world is dealing with a security crisis.
In the Balkans, tensions are also high causing local leaders to fear that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine might persuade Belgrade. The said state is also a Russian ally.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić stated that the exigency could extend to the Balkans. Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani raised issues that Russia will manipulate Serbia for disrupting the region. Additionally, Vučić asserted that they won’t enact sanctions against Russia.
In 2021, Serbia at Bërnjak and Jarina, Kosovo’s two border checkpoints became the subject of Kosovo Serbs roadblocks. It occurred after Kosovo introduced reciprocal measures on vehicles with Serbian license plates.
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