What is happening on the border between Serbia and Kosovo? Roadblocks, arrows and closed lanes

Kosovar police said they had closed two border crossings in the north of the country. According to him, such a decision was made due to the opposition of Serbs living in the north of Kosovo, who opposed the order to change Serbian license plates to Kosovar ones. “Towards the police units, but fortunately no one was injured,” it said. The NATO International Peacekeeping Force (KFOR) operating in Kosovo has issued a statement regarding the tense situation on the border.

Kosovo declared independence Serbia In 2008. It is recognized as an independent state by more than 100 countries, but not by Serbia Russia. About 50,000 Serbs living in Kosovo’s north refuse to recognize the company in the capital, Pristina, and use license plates and documents issued by Serbian authorities.

Prime Minister Albin Kurdi’s government has announced a 60-day transition period for Serbs from August 1 to obtain Kosovo license plates. A year ago, the government abandoned efforts to impose these regulations amid protests. In addition, the government decided that from August 1, all Serbian citizens traveling to Kosovo will have to obtain an additional document allowing them to enter the border. Similar regulations have been introduced by Belgrade for Kosovo citizens visiting the country.

Protests by local Serbs in the north of Kosovo in 2021 (photo from October 2021)Reuters Archive

A year ago, Serbs also blocked roads near border crossings (photo from October 2021)Reuters Archive

Kosovar police close border crossing amid Serbian protests

In protest, Serbs living in the north of Kosovo parked trucks filled with gravel and heavy equipment at two border crossings in Zarinje and Bernjak. They are located in an area where Serbs form the majority of the local community.

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When a similar Serbian protest took place a year ago, the order was followed by NATO peacekeepers (Photo from October 2021)Reuters Archive

As a result, the border crossing points have to be closed, Kosovar police said. “We invite all citizens to use other border crossings,” he announced on his Facebook profile.

“Police units were fired upon but fortunately no one was injured,” it said. Authorities said protesters attacked several Albanians crossing the blocked roads and some cars were hit.

In the small, mainly Serb town of Mitrovica, alarm sirens rang out for more than three hours on Sunday.

NATO soldiers in that place. KFOR announcement

A peacekeeping mission in Kosovo with 3,770 troops has issued a report on recent developments along the border. For this (KFOR). “The overall situation in northern Kosovo remains tense” and KFOR is “monitoring it closely” and they are ready to respond in line with their mandate “if stability is threatened”. It added that the KFOR commander is in constant contact with all parties, including representatives of the Serbian security forces and the country’s defense minister.

“NATO fully supports the process of normalization of relations between Pristina and Belgrade through negotiations under the auspices of the European Union and invites all parties to continue negotiations,” the press release said.

Both Kosovo and Serbia committed to such talks in 2013 to try to resolve outstanding disputes between them, but little progress has been made.

Main photo source: Reuters Archive

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