Kosovo official: Serbia mobilizing its reservists from Kosovo; Serb NGOs and the media: Unfounded speculation

Vojska Srbije
FOTO: 021.rs

„The Serbian Army is mobilizing its reservists from Kosovo,“ Kosovo Deputy Defense Minister Shemsi Syla claimed on Wednesday, citing findings of this ministry. The official’s speculations, which were condemned by Serbian NGOs and some media in Kosovo, arrive at a time when, according to earlier announcements of the Serbian Ministry of Defense, the citizens who did not enlist were being called up to do so. This does not mean they were called up for military service, Belgrade media reported.

The Deputy Minister of Defense of Kosovo told Pristina-based T7 on Wednesday night that Kosovo Serbs, members of the reserve force of the Serbian Army, received a call to „be on standby in case of any conflict“, Gazeta Metro reported.

„We have information that indicates Serbia is even mobilizing the reserve force and that it is also calling up its members in Kosovo,“ Syla specified.

According to Syla, Serbs in Kosovo received a call to report to Leskovac, Nis, or Vranje.

„They are calling them, giving them tasks, threatening them to arrive on time… This is what the citizens are saying – Serbs who are being questioned by the Serbian army, which is now in charge of mobilization,“ alleges the Deputy Minister of Defense of Kosovo.

On the other hand, he also claims that they have no information that such calls were also sent to Serb members of the KSF.

The Ministry of Defense of Serbia announced that it’ll call citizens who did enlist as of February 28th

The allegations of the Kosovan Deputy Minister about the mobilization of Serbs from Kosovo arrived a month after the Serbian Army, as the Belgrade media reported at the time, started calling on young men born in 2004 and older to enlist.

According to media reports, the Serbian Ministry of Defense stated at the time that the general call will last until February 28th and that after that individual calls would be sent to all those who did not respond.

As the Serbian Ministry specified, this does not mean they were called up for military service, as the obligation is defined by the Act on Military, Labor, and Material Obligations.

„Young men should sort this legal obligation by reporting to the competent center of the Ministry of Defense for local self-government.“

A North Mitrovica-based opposition candidate for the Serbian Parliament from the ranks of the People’s Party, Dejan Nedeljkovic, was among the first to draw the public’s attention to the (alleged) announcement of the Serbian Ministry of Defense.

In a Twitter post, Nedeljkovic asked the Serbian President to shed light on this alleged call, while also sharing a photo of the announcement that his friend reportedly received.

Obaveštenje Tviter Dejan Nedeljković
FOTO: Printscreen/Dejan Nedeljković/Tviter


NGOs and Media: Unfounded speculation, a threat to the citizens of Kosovo

Civil society organizations and the media reporting in Serbian gathered around the Open platform reacted on Thursday to the statement of the Kosovo Deputy Defense Minister.

They warn that “unfounded speculations that Serbia is mobilizing its reservists in Kosovo”, could pose real threats to human security on the ground and further jeopardize “already fragile relations between Serbs and Albanians, and completely shatter attempts to improve the relations between official Pristina and Belgrade.”

“Refraining from inflammatory statements is especially important now, when not so far away from our part of the world, horrible scenes are happening, that awaken Balkan traumatic memories, and a moment we are all in, compels us to behave responsibly.”

Furthermore, they urged officials to make their efforts to address the current challenges burdening the relations between the two sides as soon as possible, such as the issue of vehicle license plates, the implementation of energy agreements and the modality of Kosovo Serbs participation in the upcoming elections scheduled early next month.

“Every positive outcome and agreement between the two sides has shown that issues can be resolved in the spirit of mutual understanding and tolerance, with the overall goal of ensuring a better life and reconciliation of citizens.”

The statement was signed by: Aktiv, Center for Affirmative Social Action (CASA), Center for Rights of Minority Communities (CRMC), Crno-beli svet, Environmental Medical Expert Group (EMEG), Forum for Development and Multiethnic Cooperation (FDMC), Humanitarian Center Mitrovica, Institute for Territorial economic Development (InTER), Communication for Social Development (CSD), New Social Initiative (NSI), Media Center Caglavica and RTV Kim.

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