Serb protests leave more than 30 NATO soldiers injured

Serb protests leave more than 30 NATO soldiers injured

More than 30 soldiers from the NATO-led Kosovo Peacekeeping Force (KFOR) were injured today in clashes with Kosovar Serbs in the north of the territoryduring a protest motivated by recent electoral victories of Albanian mayors and which was also repressed by the Police.

The (KFOR) said in a statement that “several soldiers from the Italian and Hungarian contingents were subjected to unprovoked attacks and suffered injuries with fractures and burns from the explosion of incendiary devices” while “containing the most active sections of the crowd.” who protested in the town of Zvecan.


NATO soldiers were attacked during protests in Kosovo.

Hungary said more than 20 Hungarian soldiers were among the wounded, while Italy reported that 11 Italian soldiers were wounded.

The NATO, For his part, he “strongly” condemned the “unacceptable” attacks against KFOR troops, as well as the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, who asked in a statement that “all parties take a step back to reduce tensions.”

Kosovo crisis

Kosovo is a territory populated mainly by ethnic Albanians, as well as a large minority of Serbs, and was formerly a province in northern Serbia. In 2008 it declared its independence unilaterally.

Serbia has refused to recognize Kosovo’s statehood and still considers it part of its own, although it has no formal control there. The majority of Albanians are Muslims, while the bulk of Serbs are Orthodox Christians.

Kosovo’s independence has been recognized by some 100 of the more than 190 countries, including the United States and most of the European Union (EU). Russia, China and five EU nations, including Spain, have sided with Serbia. Also for Argentina, Brazil and almost all South American countries, Kosovo is part of Serbia.

The stalemate has kept tensions at a simmer and prevented full stabilization of the Balkan region after the bloody 1990s breakup wars of the former Yugoslavia, the seed of Serbia.

In the protests in Zvecan, 45 kilometers north of Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, the Kosovar Police, which also participated in the repression, dispersed Serb protesters with tear gas.

kosovo serbs.png

Protest against the inauguration of Albanian mayors

The protesters were trying to prevent the Albanian mayor from taking office in the local municipality, police said, the AFP news agency reported. Police said similar demonstrations had taken place outside two other northern Kosovo town halls with Albanian mayors.

These mayors, who are not considered legitimate representatives by Serbs, were appointed after local elections organized by the Kosovar authorities on April 23 in municipalities populated mostly by Serbs.

The Serbs widely boycotted the elections, so much so that only about 1,500 voters participated out of the nearly 45,000 registered.

Today’s violent protests come after months of rising tensions and Serbia’s putting the army on high alert and send more troops to the Kosovo border over the weekend.

The dispute over Kosovo is centuries old. Serbia considers the region as the heart of its state and religion. Numerous medieval Serbian Orthodox Christian monasteries are located in Kosovo. The majority of Kosovo Albanians view Kosovo as their country and accuse Serbia of occupation and repression.

In 1998, ethnic Albanian rebels launched a rebellion to rid the country of Serb rule. The Belgrade crackdown led to a NATO intervention in 1999, forcing Serbia to withdraw and cede control to international peacekeepers.

In recent months, the United States and the European Union (EU) have intensified their efforts to help resolve the dispute between Kosovo and Serbia, fearing further instability in Europe as Russia’s war continues in Ukraine. Serbia is an ally of Russia.

The EU has made it clear to both Serbia and Kosovo that they must normalize relations if they are to make any progress towards joining the bloc.

Source: Ambito

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