Conflicts & War

Serbia puts troops on high alert, tensions with Kosovo skyrocket

Belgrade, Dec 27 (EFE).- Serbia has placed its armed forces on a maximum level of alert as tensions with Kosovo reach fever pitch.

Belgrade has accused Pristina of escalating a standoff and plotting an attack against ethnic Serbs in the north of Kosovo.

Kosovo, which has a predominantly ethnic Albanian population, declared independence from its larger neighbor in 2008 but neither Serbia nor ethnic Serbs in Kosovo recognize its sovereignty.

Serbia’s defense minister Milos Vucevic said in a statement that the army had been placed on high alert as ordered by president Aleksander Vucic.

“That is to the level of the use of armed force,” the statement said.

Vucic said in a brief Instagram statement that the situation was “difficult” and that Belgrade would take all measures to “preserve peace and stability.”

Serbian police forces have also been placed on high alert and under the command of the army.

Belgrade views the increased state of alert necessary to protect its territory and citizens and to prevent an alleged “pogrom and (use of) terror” planned by Prisitina against Serb communities in Kosovo.

Serbia’s government has also accused Pristina of building up armed forces in the north of Kosovo, where most of the nation’s Serb minority lives.

For the eighth consecutive day, ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo have brought traffic to a standstill with roadblocks on a number of highways to protest against Prisitina’s policymaking.

Several observers say the tension between Pristina and the Serb minority, which is protected by Belgrade, is increasing.

On Monday, Nato peacekeeping forces reported gunshots in the region of Zubin Potok, although there was no further detail of the incident.

Pristina has threatened to break up the roadblocks with force if Nato does not succeed in doing so. EFE


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