Certain Belgrade-based media outlets reported today about the „Steel Ring“ action – the blocking of the „alternative roads“ in the north of Kosovo – which is linked to the alleged „indictments issued against well-known Serbs“ and the intensified deployment of Kosovo’s border units in the North. The Kosovo Police, however, indirectly denied these allegations and stated that the situation is normal. The „Steel Ring“ action has been present in the practice of the Kosovo Police for about ten years as the usual operational plan for controlling vehicles and passengers immediately after the commission of a criminal offense.
„Members of the Kosovo Police Service (KPS) are starting to block alternative roads leading from Central Serbia to Kosmet, Telegraf.rs received unofficial information. This action, as it is called ‘Steel Ring’ in Pristina, is even connected with the secret lists on which indictments are being prepared against the well-known Serbs. According to the unofficial information, Kosovo Police withdrew sections of the border units from the crossings towards Northern Macedonia and Albania. Members of these units will be deployed in the north of Kosovo and Metohija. They will, allegedly, have only one task, which is the blockade of alternate roads leading from central Serbia to the north of Kosovo and Metohija,“ Telegraf reported, which was then picked up by the Tanjug news agency and then several other media outlets in Belgrade.
Igor Simic: „Serbs worried about heightened police presence in the North“
Srpska Lista Vice-President, Igor Simic reacted to these allegations, claiming that the Serbs are „concerned about the heightened presence of the police in the north,” adding that Serbs from Leposavic and Zubin Potok municipalities noticed „the heightened presence of police formations in the regions near the administrative line with Central Serbia“.
The Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic warned a few days ago that arrest warrants will be issued against ten of the most capable men from the North.
„Against everything that is free and brave, that has the courage to oppose them, they issue an arrest warrant and will expel them from Kosovo and Metohija so that the elderly and the weak remain, so that they can expel our people, and so that there is no one to oppose them,“ Vucic stated in Sremska Mitrovica last Friday.
On the other hand, however, the Kosovo Police claimed that the situation is „normal“.
Kosovo Police spokesman, Baki Kelani told KoSSev that the situation is „normal“ and that „nothing specific“ is happening in the North.
„Regarding your question, we inform you that there is nothing specific except that the Kosovo Police is working to prevent organized crime and smuggling and that it is taking police actions based on its legal rights and obligations,“ Kelani emphasized in a written reply to KoSSev.
In a previous telephone conversation, when asked whether he denies media reports from Belgrade, Kelani briefly reiterated that the situation was „normal“ and that he will not comment on media allegations.
The deputy commander of the Kosovo Police for the north region, Besim Hoti told KoSSev that the traffic in the North is moving regularly.
The „Steel Ring“ action has been in practice within the Kosovo Police for a decade. It is activated when the operational plan of the police is in force immediately after the commission of a criminal offense, or escape from prison and involves the control of vehicles and persons.
As far as „alternative“ roads are concerned, in the practice of the Kosovo Police, these roads are called „illegal“. According to an agreement reached between Belgrade and Pristina in Brussels, there are two integrated border crossings – Jarinje and Brnjak in the north of Kosovo, along which legal traffic takes place.
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