Risk of military conflict is real – Serbia
Kosovo is challenging Serbia’s security and creating the risk of violent clashes in the region, President Alexander Vucic warned on Tuesday while addressing the national parliament.
Vucic accused Kosovo authorities of exacerbating tensions on the territory’s border with Serbia by increasing the presence of special forces.
“We are at a moment when Serbia, due to the steps of Pristina, is facing significant security challenges… I want to say that the presence of the special forces of Pristina police in the north of Kosovo and Metohija is increasing. I will also tell you about the strengthening of our posts,” Vucic explained.
He stressed that “there is no creation of a crisis by the Serbian side,” and warned that “the danger is close, objective and serious.”
Vucic stated in a televised address last week that Serbia was being pressured by some European powers to resolve the conflict with Kosovo by signing an agreement, which would essentially recognize the breakaway province.
According to Vucic, Belgrade has also been asked to clarify its position on the confrontation between the West and Russia over Ukraine. Serbia has “again become collateral damage in the conflicts of the great powers,” Vucic concluded.
After gathering support from the West, Kosovo declared its independence in 2008. However, while the US and many of its allies have recognized Kosovo as independent, Serbia, Russia, China and the UN have not. Neither have five EU member states.
Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo reignited in early August after Pristina attempted to outlaw Serbian documents and license plates. The measure was postponed at the urging of the US ambassador, but Kosovo authorities have vowed to carry it out eventually.
Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti has since said he is prepared to normalize relations with Serbia, but stressed that there must be equal treatment for Serbs and Kosovo Albanians with regards to entry-exit papers.