KFOR is closely monitoring the situation in the Municipalities in the North of Kosovo where a series of clashes have been caused by the forced entry of newly elected Mayors into municipality buildings.
„This is extremely dangerous for the normalisation process and risks escalating tensions further,“ reads the statement.
„KFOR firmly condemns these unilateral acts and calls on all parties to refrain from violence that could threaten security in Kosovo,“ this military force underlined, while adding:
„Coordination between all actors is fundamental to avoid further escalation“.
„KFOR’s first priority remains ensuring a safe and secure environment, in line with its UN Security Council mandate. Dialogue and diplomacy are the only way to lasting peace and security in Kosovo“.
Earlier today Kosovo’s Prime Minister met with KFOR Commander Angela Michelle Ristuccia in the face of condemnation from the international community, primarily the United States.
The meeting followed today’s action by the special Kosovo Police in northern Kosovo, during which the new mayors entered municipalities accompanied by heavily armed police forces.
Kurti stated that the municipal buildings are „property of the Republic“, while the mayors of municipalities in northern Kosovo were elected in „free and democratic elections“.
In a harsh tone, the moves of the Kosovo authorities in the North were also criticized by the USA, through several reactions, including the announcement of the Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
„The United States strongly condemns the actions by the Government of Kosovo to access municipal buildings in the north of Kosovo by force, actions it took against the advice of the United States and Kosovo’s European partners. These actions have sharply and unnecessarily escalated tensions, undermining our efforts to help normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia and will have consequences for our bilateral relations with Kosovo. We call on Prime Minister Albin Kurti to reverse course and on all sides to refrain from any further actions that will inflame tensions and promote conflict“.
Incidents occurred today in three municipalities in Northern Kosovo when the Kosovo authorities, with police assistance, attempted to install new Albanian mayors in buildings previously used by Serbian municipal structures.
The citizens in the North resisted this decision and gathered in front of the municipal buildings in Zvečan, Leposavić, and Zubin Potok.
Since the mayors were unable to enter with the assistance of regular police forces, heavily armed units of the Kosovo Police’s special forces entered all three municipalities and forcefully installed the mayors. They removed Serbian flags and replaced them with Kosovo flags. Several civilian armored vehicles belonging to the Kosovo authorities were also seen.
Tear gas and stun grenades were used, and at least two police vehicles were vandalized, one of which was set on fire in Zvečan, with dozens slightly injurred (among who 5 police officers) due to the teargas.
The police accuse the citizens of throwing stun grenades, engaging in violence, and undermining the constitutional order.
The Kosovan Minister of Internal Affairs praised the police officers for their professional actions and their fight against organized crime.
The Kosovan President approved the action „against the illegal structures of Vucic’s criminal gangs“ as legitimate, executed in accordance with their constitutional duties and in defense of all citizens.
Meanwhile, a significant portion of the Serbian leadership and employees of the structures were in Belgrade attending Vučić’s rally.
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