700 military personnel from the NATO peacekeeping mission arrived in Northern Kosovo. The reinforcement of the contingent was necessary because of the violence in the region in recent days.
The escalation of tensions began more than a week ago when Serbs in northern Kosovo tried to prevent newly elected Kosovo Albanian mayors from entering municipal buildings and assuming their duties. The Kosovo police then used tear gas to disperse the crowd and let the new employees into the offices.
Earlier in the week, clashes broke out between protesters, police and NATO peacekeepers in Kosovo, KFOR, injuring around 30 KFOR soldiers and around 50 Kosovo Serbs. The Alliance then promised to reinforce the mission with 700 troops.
After talks with US representatives, Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti has said he is ready to hold new elections if the Kosovo Serbs end the protests. This morning, however, in the center of Leposavic – one of the four municipalities inhabited mainly by Serbs, demonstrators began to gather again. In the other three – Zvecan, Zubin Potok and Severna Mitrovica, it is still calm.
A call for a de-escalation of tensions was also made by the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security, Josep Borrell. Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met briefly last night in the presence of Borrell, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on the sidelines of a summit of the European political community in Moldova.