NewsTensions are rising at the Serbia and Kosovo border. NATO and the White House are responding

Tensions are rising at the Serbia and Kosovo border. NATO and the White House are responding

Tensions are rising at the Serbia and Kosovo border. NATO and the White House are responding
Images source: © GETTY | Anadolu Agency
ed. SYB

7:46 AM EDT, September 30, 2023, updated: 9:08 AM EDT, October 5, 2023

The spokesperson for the National Security Council, John Kirby, has called on the Serbian authorities to withdraw troops assembled at the border with Kosovo and to de-escalate tensions. The White House representative confirmed that NATO peacekeeping forces in Kosovo are systematically being increased, which is a response to growing tensions in the region.

Kirby, quoted by Reuters and AFP agencies, assessed that the authorities in Belgrade have deployed infantry units, armored forces, and artillery at the border with Kosovo in quantities, which he described as "unprecedented".

The spokesman also informed that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a phone conversation with President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic on Friday. During the conversation, Blinken urged Vucic to "immediately reduce the level of tension and return to dialogue" with Pristina.

Additionally, the U.S. president's national security advisor Jake Sullivan discussed the situation in Kosovo with the prime minister of that country, Albin Kurti.

NATO sends additional forces to Kosovo

The North Atlantic Alliance announced earlier that it had approved the deployment of additional forces to Kosovo in response to escalating tensions in the country. However, no details were given on the number of these troops, nor which countries the soldiers would come from.

The UK Defense Ministry announced that it has handed over command of one of the British Army battalions to NATO, which - if needed - could support the Alliance's peacekeeping contingent in Kosovo.

Shooting in the village of Banjska

Let us remind you that on September 24 there was a shootout between Kosovar forces and ethnic Serbs in the village of Banjska in northern Kosovo. The Serbs barricaded themselves in the local monastery. Late at night, Kosovo police managed to control the situation after an exchange of fire. During the fights, three attackers and one policeman were killed.

Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008, accuses Serbia of arming and supporting Serbian fighters. Serbia has not recognized the independence of its former province and blames Kosovo for discriminating against the Serbs who remain there.

Ethnic Albanians make up the majority in Kosovo, which has about 1.8 million inhabitants, however, about 50 thousand ethnic Serbs live in the north of the country. NATO peacekeeping forces - KFOR, are stationed in Kosovo.

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