Kosovo closed its biggest border crossing with Serbia on Wednesday amid rising tensions.
Prior to the border closure, Serbia put its military on “the highest level of combat readiness” following a shooting incident in Northern Kosovo where an unnamed gunman shot at NATO peacekeeping troops in Kosovo (KFOR) as well as their vehicles in a Christmas day assault. Nobody was injured, and there were no material damages, DW reported.
KFOR has made a greater appearance in the past month following Kosovo’s decision to ban Serbian license plates, which accelerated the hostility shared between the two Balkan countries, with ethnic Serbs stepping down as mayors and police officers. (RELATED: Israeli Police Arrest Suspect For Bus Bombing That Injured Two Americans)
Serbia on Monday placed its security troops on the border with Kosovo on “the full state of combat readiness,” ignoring NATO’s calls for calming down of tensions between the two wartime Balkan foes. https://t.co/14enWxn6LE
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 27, 2022
The Kosovan government swiftly pushed the blame onto Serbia, with Interior Minister Xhelal Svecla accusing Belgrade Tuesday of colluding with Moscow to destabilize the country. Both Serbia and Russia have denied having a role in the Serbian walk-outs or protests, according to Reuters.
Despite their ostensible lack of influence, Serbia stated that it wants to protect its ethnic minority there, and the Kremlin has expressed its support of Belgrade, the outlet noted.
Serbians have been getting into gun fights with police and blocking roads around Mitrovica, Kosovo, since Dec. 10 following the arrest of a former Serbian policeman who was accused of assailing other officers, Reuters noted. Amidst the growing global tensions, Kosovo applied for EU membership Dec. 15, Kosovan President Vjosa Osmani tweeted.