Kosovo crisis – British increase NATO peacekeeping force

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Britain is expanding its presence as part of the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping mission amid tensions between Serbia and Kosovo. As the Ministry of Defense in London announced on Sunday, 200 additional soldiers will strengthen the current 400-strong British contingent as part of an annual exercise in Kosovo. Meanwhile, the US and Germany have called for the immediate withdrawal of Serbian troops from the border with Kosovo.

“There should be no further escalation between Serbia and Kosovo. The political process must continue. And at this point I also appeal to Serbia to reduce its troops on the border,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Sunday at the small Green Party conference in Munich. Berlin is in intensive contact with all parties. “The political process must continue,” the German Foreign Ministry said. The German coalition parties have also called for an increase in the number of Bundeswehr forces under KFOR. According to Spiegel, the Bundeswehr currently has 85 soldiers stationed in Kosovo. The mandate, which was last extended by the Bundestag in May, provides for up to 400 emergency services.

Washington: “The development is destabilizing”
The US government had previously asked Belgrade to withdraw its troops stationed on the border with Kosovo. There is an “unprecedented deployment of advanced Serbian artillery, tanks and mechanized infantry units” on the border with Kosovo, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said. The development is “very destabilizing”.

Vucic: “Serbia does not want war”
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic denied any intention of a military attack on Kosovo in an interview with the Financial Times last weekend. Instead, he will order the withdrawal of Serbian troops, saying an escalation would be “counterproductive” for Belgrade’s EU aspirations. Serbia will not destroy its own years of efforts. “Serbia does not want war,” he told the newspaper.

The reason for the new tensions was the attack last Sunday by a thirty-man, heavily armed Serbian commando unit on Kosovo police officers in the town of Banjska near Mitrovica in northern Kosovo. Three Serb attackers and a Kosovo police officer were killed. From the American perspective, the attack was “highly sophisticated” with approximately twenty vehicles, “military” weapons and equipment. It “doesn’t look like a bunch of people just got together to do this,” security consultant Kirby said.

Pristina presents “new evidence”
Kosovo’s top Serbian politician and businessman Milan Radoicic claimed responsibility for this attack. He said in an open letter that he organized the group without Belgrade’s knowledge. Milan Radoicic said he acted in response to the Kosovo government’s “terror” against the local Serb community. The government in Pristina considers it impossible for Radoicic to do it alone and presented “new evidence” on Sunday of Serbian support in preparing the attack.

Prime Minister Albin Kurti posted satellite images of two Serbian military bases where ‘terrorists’ were said to have been trained before the attack. “The attacks had the full support of the Serbian state,” Kurti said on X (formerly Twitter).

Source: Krone

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