Tensions rise between Serbia and Kosovo;  Russia rushes to back Serbs

In the framework of rising tensions between Serbia and Kosovo Kremlin spokesman Dimitri Peskov stated that Russia “absolutely” supports Serbia and has branded as “unreasonable” the demands of Pristina, the capital of Kosovo in the face of the conflict.

“We absolutely support Serbia. We are close to the Kosovo Serbs. We believe these are absolutely unreasonable demands,” Peskov said of the matter, according to the Russian news agency. TASS.

In this sense, the Russian official called on the countries that recognize the independence of Kosovowhich does not include Russia, to use “all their influence” to “warn” the Kosovar authorities that the making “unwise decisions” can lead to “further escalation of tension”.

Also, the Kremlin spokesman indicated that Russia demands respect for the rights of Serbs living in Kosovoin reference to the border regulations that Pristina had planned to implement from this Monday, but that have finally been postponed for a month.

The Kosovar authorities had scheduled for this Monday the entry into force of a law by which persons from Serbia entering Kosovo had to deliver your identity documentswhich would be replaced by others issued in Pristina.

In addition, car license plates issued by Serbia for Kosovar cities with a Serb majority population were to be replaced by official ones from the breakaway region.

On the other hand, the government of Kosovo announced this morning that the measures will finally come into force in September after an increase in tensions on the border, where Serbia set up barricades.

“Now, thank God we have managed to avoid any kind of aggravation tonight, but this situation has only been postponed for a month, so it is very important to continue to show caution on all sides,” Peskov said.

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Meanwhile, hea NATO Force for Kosovo (KFOR) has monitored or unblocked the roads at the border crossings, in the north of Kosovo, and has assured that it “closely follows the situation” in the framework of the increase in tensions with Serbia.

“KFOR is closely following the situation in northern Kosovo with local and international security organizations. Under its UN mandate, KFOR remains firmly committed to security, ready to take whatever steps are necessary to keep Kosovo safe,” he reported on his official Twitter account.

For his part, the Kosovar Prime MinisterAlbin Kurti, held a press conference together with the Minister of the Interior, Xelal Svecla, and asked the international community to react and punish “criminal acts and gangs in Kosovo”.

On Sunday, Serbs erected barricades on roads leading to Jarinje and Brnjakin protest at the decisions of the Government of Kosovo on the application of a law – already postponed for a month – by which people from Serbia who entered Kosovo had to hand over their identity documents, which would be replaced by others issued in Pristina .

Local media reported that the Kosovo police and the KFOR forces supervised the unblocking of the roads to the border points between the two countries in a conflict that, according to Svecla, has caused at least eleven injuries, as reported by collected ‘Kosova Sot’.

Joseph Borrellwho is he High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security of the European Unionapplauded that Kosovo has decided to postpone for a month the implementation of measures to veto the use of Serbian identity documents and license plates in its territory and that came into force on Monday.

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“I welcome Kosovo’s decision to move the measures to September 1,” Borrell said in a post on Twitter, adding that he hopes “all obstacles will be removed immediately.”

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurtyannounced in the early hours of this Monday, after the increase in tensions with Serbia, its decision to postpone the implementation of this measure for one month and another so that the car license plates issued by Serbia for Kosovar cities with a Serb majority population were replaced by the official ones from Kosovo, detailed Europa Press.

In his message on social networks, Borrell called for dialogue to normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia, “essential for their paths to integration in the EU.”

Questioned by this decision, the spokesman for Foreign Affairs of the European Union, Peter Stanocalled for “calm” and pointed out that the only way to resolve any dispute is “through dialogue and negotiation.”

“Any uncoordinated and unilateral action that puts stability and security on the ground at risk and that impedes the freedom of movement of all citizens in this place must stop immediately,” the community spokesperson urged.

Stano explained that the EU has been in contact with Kosovo and Serbia and other international institutions to “calm tensions” and has “invited both parties” to discuss the issue in Brussels.


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