Serbia has placed its security forces in a state of combat readiness as a response to Kosovo’s measures-Zamkuwire - Zamkuwire.com

Serbia has placed its security forces in a state of combat readiness as a response to Kosovo’s measures-Zamkuwire

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Serbia says it placed troops on combat alert amid Kosovo tension

 

Serbia has placed its security forces in a state of combat readiness as a response to Kosovo’s measures, the Serbian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

“We have received credible reports that security forces and armed forces in Pristina were put on high alert,” Nemanja Starovic, state secretary for the ministry, said at a news briefing.

Serbia decided to increase the readiness of its armed forces as “a reaction to these credible field reports,” he said, referring to Monday’s order from President Aleksandar Vucic.

Serbia is willing to make sacrifices for peace and stability in the region, but will not compromise on the lives of Serbs in Kosovo, he asserted.

“This is actually not a threat to anyone. It is a very important precautionary measure. Serbia remains fully committed to preserving peace and stability in the region,” said Starovic.

“We are very well aware that we all have so much to lose if peace and stability are put at risk. Serbia is ready to sacrifice a lot, but we cannot sacrifice the lives of our people in Kosovo.”

Starovic also refuted reports that Serbs in the region fired at NATO peacekeepers, known as the Kosovo Force, or KFOR.

He said Leonids Kanin, a Latvian general, has confirmed that it was Kosovar forces who opened fire to intimidate Serb protesters.

“Obviously, the firing was from Kosovo police, but a vicious media campaign was launched to accuse Serbs of shooting at the KFOR patrol. Hundreds of media activists were involved in that vicious campaign,” said Starovic.

To a question from Anadolu Agency about Russia’s stance, Starovic said Serbia counts on Russia in the UN Security Council.

“The support that we expect is Russia’s position as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Serbia appreciates its support in the UN,” he said.

When it comes to the situation on the ground, Russia is not a stakeholder, he added.

Asked if Türkiye can help mediate in the crisis as it has done in the Ukraine war, Starovic praised Ankara’s support in the energy field.

“Serbia appreciates the positive role that Türkiye played in the first half of this year when it offered its good services and help for the implementation of the energy agreement. It would have been hard for all of us to reach that important roadmap,” said Starovic.

– Serbia-Kosovo tensions

Kosovo, predominantly inhabited by Albanians, broke from Serbia in 1999 and declared independence in 2008. Serbia, however, has not recognized the move and sees its former province as part of its territory.

Tensions have escalated since the Dec. 10 detention of former Serbian police officer Dejan Pantic on suspicion of attacking election officials.

Protesting Pantic’s detention, Kosovo Serbs have been standing guard at barricades they set up at border crossings since Dec. 10.

Local Serbs in northern Kosovo set up new barricades after Kosovar authorities blocked Serbian Patriarch Porfirije from entering the country ahead of Orthodox Christmas celebrations.

The EU, NATO, and the US have called for de-escalation and the removal of barricades in northern Kosovo, while Serbia has requested to deploy its army and police based on a UN resolution.

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