The Director of Serbia’s Office for Kosovo has announced that Serbia will “reconsider” returning part of its security personnel to Kosovo.
The move comes after Kosovo expanded the police presence in the Serb-majority north.
“Belgrade will consider, in accordance with [UN SC] Resolution 1244, the return of up to 1,000 [members] of our security personnel to the territory of Kosovo and Metohija as provided for under Resolution 1244,” Petar Petkovic told media representatives.
An adviser to the Kosovar President, Blerim Vela, warned that Serbia appeared to be “moving from covert violent actions of its illegal structures in Kosovo to overt threats to use police and military forces to conduct aggression against Kosovo.”
“As per Russia’s playbook, this is a blatant threat to endanger peace and stability in Kosovo and the wider region,” wrote on Twitter.
Just hours earlier, Kosovo police said that the force’s priority was to “provide security for all citizens.”
“Therefore,” the police press release continued, “assessing the situation and the current trends in the northern municipalities, the police will increase the police presence in the north in the coming days to achieve the objectives.”
Kosovo police also said that a police officer was injured in Serbovc, a village near Zvecan/Zvecane, at around 11pm on Thursday. The police officer was injured when a patrol was reportedly attacked by armed individuals in a drive-by shooting.
“The police officer suffered light injuries and the police car was heavily damaged. Relevant police units went to the scene while the injured officer was transported to the Family Medicine Center for medical care,” police said.
The following morning, journalists were assaulted by a masked person in Mitrovica North. The incident occurred when the journalists’ car passed by a group of masked individuals near the Technical School.
The masked attacker hit the car with his fists, and the masked group threw heavy objects in their direction.
The Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK) expressed “deep concern” over the security of journalists reporting in northern Kosovo.
“AJK condemns the attack and demands from Kosovo Police to provide necessary conditions for journalists who are reporting from this part of the country,” AJK said.
Tensions over the border region between Kosovo and Serbia have heightened in recent weeks, with EULEX increasing its presence in the area following the collective withdrawal of Serbs from Kosovo institutions over a years-long license plates dispute.
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