Tensions flare at Kosovo-Serb border amid protests and gunfire


“We will pray for peace and seek peace, but there will be no surrender and Serbia will win,” Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said at a news conference on Sunday. “If they dare to persecute, mistreat and kill Serbs, Serbia will win,” he continued, adding later: “We have never been in a more difficult, more complicated situation than today.”

Mr Vucic, who convened a high-level meeting of security and military officials on Sunday evening, said the Kosovar government was trying to put him in the same light as President Vladimir V. Putin by blaming the unrest over Serbia’s close relationship with Russia. , a fellow Slavic and Orthodox Christian nation.

Kosovo’s leader, Mr Vucic, said at Sunday’s press conference, tried to capitalize on the global mood by projecting that “the big Putin ordered the little Putin, so the new Zelensky, in the form of Albin Kurti, will a savior and struggle against the great Serbian hegemony.”

Vladimir Djukanovic, a Serbian MP from Mr Vucic’s ruling party, also linked the border spat to the war in Ukraine, tweeting: “It seems to me that Serbia will be forced to start denazification of the Balkans,” a ominous reference to Russia’s justification for the invasion of Ukraine.

Serbia, a candidate for accession to the European Union, has maintained close ties to Moscow and has not joined Western sanctions against Russia, although it did vote in favor of a United Nations resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Belgrade and Moscow share animosity towards the NATO military alliance over the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, when Mr Vucic was a spokesman for Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

NATO continues to maintain a peacekeeping presence in Kosovo, with a force of approximately 3,700 troops. In a press release, NATO said its forces on the ground were “ready to intervene if stability is threatened”.

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