A group of soldiers from different NATO member states, which are part of the KFOR mission, as well as four Albanian soldiers, visited North Mitrovica today. They walked from the main bridge at the Ibar River to the monument to Knez Lazar, located in the city center, where they were photographed.
This scene caused numerous negative reactions on social networks, with political parties also reacting and claiming that it was a provocation.
KFOR, however, stated that the visit was not meant to be a provocation and reminded that Albania is a member of NATO for 10 years now, adding that the group of soldiers was made up of members of different nations.
„A group of NATO soldiers, accompanied by KFOR, is conducting reconnaissance activities in Kosovo. The activity consists of visits to various places in Kosovo, including Mitrovica and other locations in the north,“ KFOR spokesperson Vincenzo Grasso told KoSSev.
Otadzbina: Before Vucic’s regime KFOR did not dare to irritate Serbs in this way
The National Movement of Serbs from Kosovo „Otadzbina“ was the first one to react to the information that a group of Albanian soldiers took a walk today in North Mitrovica. This movement stated that this only shows „the misery and inability of Vucic’s regime to protect Serbs in Kosovo“.
Otadzbina wrote in a statement that the Albanians could not take a walk in the northern part of the city without KFOR’s permission and that „before Vucic’s regime, KFOR did not dare to irritate Serbs in this way.“
„After this provocation, we assume that the president of Serbia will raise the army combat readiness for the umpteenth time. He will hold a session of the National Security Council, again for the umpteenth time, and this will end there. In other words, he is just blowing hot air,“ Otadzbina underlined.
In addition to Otazbina, numerous citizens reacted on social networks, criticizing the visit of KFOR soldiers and placing the blame for it on both the local and the central government in Belgrade.
Srpska Lista: A series of strange events
According to official information on NATO’s website, Albania is one of the nations participating in the KFOR mission. Out of 3,525 soldiers in KFOR, 29 are Albanian.
Srpska Lista also reacted, stating that „a series of strange events are currently happening in the north of Kosovo and Metohija“.
The largest Kosovo Serb party also said that „provocations and walks by members of the Albanian army in the center of Kosovska Mitrovica“ followed the warnings of the British embassy and the drawing of KLA graffiti.
Srpska Lista agree that this series of events caused worry among the citizens, and they asked the KFOR commander „whether he has information about any possible incidents in the north of Kosovo, which the British and the Germans are warning about and also what are the soldiers of Albania doing on the streets of Serb cities in the north, when it is well known that the Albanian army is not part of the KFOR mission?“
20:50 – KFOR: Fabricated rumours continue circulating in the media
During the evening a public statement by KFOR was forwarded to all media.
„Again, today we read about unproven weird plots and a series of strange events, which are only generating panic and confusion in the people that deserve more respect. Notwithstanding the numerous appeals to refrain from spreading irresponsible speculations, unfortunately fabricated rumours continue circulating in the media and causing unfounded concerns among the population,“ the KFOR statement reads.
KFOR confirmed the situation in the north, as well as all over Kosovo, is under control and that there is no signs or evidence of possible unrest or violence.
They also added that „ it should be well known that Albania is also contributing to the KFOR mission “.
„ KFOR continues to be impartially committed to its UN mandate in order to protect all people in Kosovo and when KFOR exercises and moves around Kosovo everybody must feel safer,“ the statement concludes.
— Филип Фићовић (@FicovicFilip) 04. април 2019.
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