Kosovo’s NATO-led international peacekeeping force KFOR said it is still considering the Serbia’s request to send its own military to the north of the country as exacerbated tensions enter the 12th day.
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 over Pristina’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 the situation has continued to be unstable, with ethnic Serbs creating roadblocks and barricades on crucial roads and reports of attacks with weapons and objects on police, journalists, and the Central Election Commission.
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksander Vucic said he would formally request to send in Serbian military and police to “preserve the peace” under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244.
“We are currently analysing the latest request of the Government of Serbia. We will continue to provide a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement that encourages productive dialogue, allowing leaders to create long-term and sustainable solutions for the benefit of all communities living in Kosovo,” KFOR said in a statement.
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.
“There are many actors on the ground committed to making progress, but KFOR remains alert and ready to react. We are prepared to intervene, if necessary, to prevent escalation, in accordance with our UN mandate,” KFOR added.
On Tuesday, explosions were reported in North Mitrovica but police said there were no injuries. The Association of Journalists of Kosovo, however, said that the explosions occurred near a TV crew.
“The Association of Journalists of Kosovo expresses its deep concern over the situation created in the north of the country, and calls on all colleagues to be extra careful during their reports from this part. At the same time, the AGK again asks the competent bodies to take the appropriate measures to ensure that journalists can carry out their work without being endangered or hindered,” they said.
Meanwhile, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said the region is on the brink of war.