As attacks continue in the north of Kosovo and schools remain closed, Serbian President Aleksander Vučić called the German foreign minister a hypocrite and said he will formally ask NATO to send in Serbian troops on Thursday.
The situation in the north intensified last week after attacks on the Central Election Commission. Kosovo with Yugoslav-era grenades and guns.
Elections were set to be held on 18 December in the Serb-majority municipalities of Zvecan, Leopsavic, Zubin Potok and North Mitrovica after representatives resigned en masse in protest over Prishtina’s plans to ban Yugoslav-era license plates. The election was then postponed to April 2023 by President Vjosa Osmani in a bid to calm the situation.
But on Saturday, Serbs erected barricades and blocked the roads leading to the border points with Serbia, Jarinje, and Brnjak. Police reported being shot at and attacked, while Vucic said he would ask NATO to send the military into the region.
“(Analena) Berbock said that someone lowered tensions because they postponed the elections, imagine the hypocrisy. That night, you invaded with special forces and wanted to seize the municipal election commissions… You knew that there would be no elections, but you wanted to attack the Serbs by force,” said Vučić.
He also accused the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell of siding with Kosovo Albanians in his condemnation of the escalating situation.
“I’m afraid that this reaction is a consequence of the attack he experienced when he marked the culprit for the collapse of the negotiations in Brussels,” said Vučić.
“I believe that we will preserve the peace and we will do our best to make it so,” said the president, adding that on Thursday he would formally ask NATO to allow 1000 Serbian military and police to enter Kosovo based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244.
Article 4 of the resolution allows for the return of Serbian military and police under certain circumstances including marking/clearing minefields, maintaining a presence near Serbian heritage sites, and maintaining a presence at key border crossings.
On the ground in the north, primary and secondary schools will remain closed as per a decision taken on Sunday evening by Belgrade as they fall under Serbian remit, according to Euronews Albania.
Meanwhile, roads in Jarinje, Bernjak, and Ruda continue to be blocked. KFOR forces are on the ground, but they have so far made no attempt to disassemble the blocks.
Vučić maintains that Belgrade is not behind the roadblocks. “No one from Belgrade ordered the barricades,” he said, adding that “they will not undertake violent actions against the demonstrators.”
Kosovo Police arrested several Serbs on suspicion of involvement in attacks but Vučić said that to diffuse the situation, they should be released.
Attacks on journalists have also been reported over the weekend and on Monday.
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama called on the EU to urgently call the two sides to the dialogue table to put an end to any more unrest.
“Attacks on EULEX in Kosovo are unequivocally reprehensible, just as every act of violence against the Kosovo police is reprehensible. The reappearance of the barricades in the North of Kosovo contradicts every law and every spirit of dialogue and not only does not solve anything but rather complicates everything further…The EU should urgently call the dialogue table,” Rama wrote on Twitter.
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