Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic ordered his army commander to go, on Sunday night, to the border with Kosovo, according to what General Milan Moiselovic himself announced, with the recent exacerbation of tension between the two countries due to the prevention of crossing at border points.
Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade refuses to recognize it, and even urges the 120,000 Serbs living in Kosovo to challenge the authorities of Pristina.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic
On December 10, hundreds of Serbs blocked roads in the Serb-majority regions of northern Kosovo in protest against the arrest of a former policeman, paralyzing traffic at two border crossings.
“The situation there is difficult and complicated,” said the Serbian army commander, in an interview with the local “Pink TV” channel, on Sunday.
“This requires, in the coming period, the presence of the Serbian army along the administrative line,” which is the term used by Belgrade to describe the border with Kosovo, he added.
The army chief said he was on his way to Rasca, a town about 10 kilometers from the border with Kosovo, following his meeting with Vucic in Belgrade.
Moiselovic stressed that “the tasks entrusted to the Serbian army … are accurate and clear, and they will be fully implemented.”
Members of the NATO KFOR peacekeeping force on the Kosovo-Serbia border
Tensions flared up between the two parties when Kosovo set a date of December 18 for elections in municipalities with a Serb majority, but the main Serbian political party announced its boycott.
And later, the Kosovan authorities arrested a former policeman suspected of involvement in attacks against police officers of Albanian origin, which angered the Serbs, who resorted to banditry.
Shortly before Mošelović headed to the border area, several Serbian media outlets broadcast a video in which gunfire could be heard circulating on social media.
Media reported that a “clash” took place early Sunday night when Kosovar forces tried to dismantle a roadblock.
But the Kosovo police rejected this allegation and denied in a post on “Facebook” the participation of its members in any clash.
And media in Pristina reported that a NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force patrol was at the scene of the shooting, but there were no reports of injuries or damage.
KFOR, which recently strengthened its presence in northern Kosovo, did not comment on the news.
In November, hundreds of Kosovo Serb policemen, judges, prosecutors and other workers went on strike to protest a decision to ban Serbs living in Kosovo from putting Serbian license plates on their cars.
However, despite the suspension of the implementation of the decision by Pristina due to the anger it aroused, the strike of Serbian employees and policemen continued, which created a security vacuum in Kosovo.
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said last week that the situation with Kosovo was “on the brink of sliding into armed conflict”.