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Sirens Sound In Northern Kosovo As Tensions With Serbia Simmer


Wires carried reports of alleged clashes in the northern part of Kosovo amid heightened tensions with Serbia over planned measures that have sparked backlash from Belgrade.

  • The tensions escalated amidst Kosovo's plan to start replacing Serbian license plates and ID's on its territory with Kosovar ones on Monday, a move deemed discriminatory by the authorities in Belgrade. Kosovo was also planning to introduce a requirement for visiting Serbs to obtain an extra permission to enter, matching the rules applied to Kosovars entering Serbia.
  • Kosovo said it shut two border crossings in the north after local Serbian protesters blocked roads and fired shots at the police, noting that nobody was wounded. Air raid sirens were reportedly heard in the town of North Mitrovica.
  • Serbia denied that its troops have "in any way entered the territory of Kosovo" or clashed with Kosovar police forces, but President Vucic delivered a televised address to the nation, warning that Serbs "will not suffer any more atrocities."
  • Russia threw its weight behind Belgrade, with its Foreign Ministry spokesperson calling on Kosovo, the U.S. and the EU to "stop provocations," in a verbal intervention lauded by President Vucic. Meanwhile, NATO's Kosovo Force (KFOR) said it has sent troops to patrol the streets and is ready to step in "if stability is threatened."
  • Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu tweeted that he spoke with his Serbian and Kosovar counterparts regarding the recent tension, adding that Turkey "is ready to do whatever is necessary to reduce the tension."
  • In a press release, Kosovo's government said it was putting the implementation of planned measures on hold for 30 days, seemingly in response to a request by the U.S. ambassador. President Vucic said that KFOR commander will meet with Srpska Lista (Serb minority party in Kosovo) leader at midnight, adding that he hopes "this will be de-escalated tomorrow."

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