plans to attack Serbs – Belgrade


Aleksandar Vucic has urged Pristina and western powers to avoid conflict, but vowed to use force if Serbs are persecuted

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has made a plea for peace in Kosovo amid mounting tensions with Pristina. However, he also pledged to fight to the death if ethnic Serbs in the self-proclaimed republic are the target of another pogrom.

“The atmosphere has warmed up and the Serbs will not suffer any more atrocities,” he said. That is what Vucic said in Belgrade on Sunday. “My plea to everyone is to try to keep the peace at almost any cost. I ask the Albanians to come to their senses, the Serbs not to be provocative, but I also ask the representatives of powerful and large countries, who have recognized the so-called independence of Kosovo, to pay a little attention to international law and the reality on the ground and not allowing their pupils to cause conflict.”

Vucic’s comments came as Pristina prepared to implement a controversial law requiring ethnic Serbs living in the disputed area to replace their Serbia-issued vehicle registrations with Kosovo plates, starting Monday. Kosovo may also require the replacement of other types of Serbian-issued documents, such as identity cards, and it will make a renewed effort to ban travelers with Serbian-issued documents or license plates from entry or issue temporary papers.

On Sunday, church bells rang the alarm through the northern part of the province, amid reports that armed ethnic Albanians were gathering for another pogrom of the remaining Serbs – as had happened in 2004.

The Serbian president claimed last month that the registration policy was part of an effort to force the remaining Serbs out of Kosovo. He referred to the move as “a new storm”, referring to the Croatian military operation in 1995 that forced most Serbs to flee Croatia.

Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic told reporters on Saturday that “the Albanian side in Kosovo and Metohija is literally preparing to lift hell for Serbs.”

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti, an ethnic Albanian, has denied that the transition to non-Serb documents is more than applying “law and justice” equal for all citizens.

“Trust in your government”, he said in a videotaped message in Serbian.

Vucic has claimed that “provocations” against Serbs living in Kosovo has increased since Kurti, a nationalist who favors the idea of ​​Albanian unification, became prime minister last year. The number of such incidents, including attacks by ethnic Albanians on Serbian cemeteries and Orthodox churches, has risen by 50%, he told reporters on Sunday.

“We don’t want conflict and we don’t want war” said Vucic in his speech. “We will pray for peace and seek peace, but let me tell you right away: there will be no surrender and Serbia will win. If they dare to persecute, harass and kill Serbs, Serbia will win.”

Vucic also speculated that Pristina is trying to capitalize on the Ukraine crisis by provoking a conflict in which Kurti would be sympathetically portrayed as Kosovo’s version of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, with the Serbs playing the role of Russia and President Vladimir Putin.

NATO occupied Kosovo in 1999, after a 78-day air war against what was then Yugoslavia. The province declared independence in 2008, with Western support. While the US and most of its allies have recognized it, Serbia, Russia, China and the UN in general have not.

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