Kosovo Military Deploys to Serbian Border, Crossings Closed

Update (2032 EST): Tensions seem to be falling as both the Serbia and Kosovo Presidents agreed to allow NATO peacekeepers to regulate the situation. The reason for initial protests was starting August 1, Serbian citizens will be issued temporary IDs to replace their Serbian passports when visiting Kosovo. Serbia has imposed similar requirements for Kosovo citizens visiting the neighboring country. In response Serbian civilians took to the streets in protest, similar to what happened last October. Prime Minister Kurti of Kosovo told media he followed the US’ recommendation to delay decision on issuing the controversial documents by one month. However, he also said that these documents will be issued as long as roadblocks to border crossings from Serbia and Serbians in Kosovo persist. Serbia requires documents from Kosovo citizens entering their country, but vehemently protest reciprocity of such documents from Serbians entering Kosovo, due to not regarding Kosovo an independent nation. Serbia considers Kosovo a breakaway region as agreed in the 2013 independence documents, but also considers any additional impediment on ethnic Serbs entering Kosovo discrimination. Kosovo has historically lifted reciprocity documents due to protest by the EU accession documents.

Update (1723 EST): NATO has released a statement on the ongoing tensions.

Update (1713 EST): Gunfire reported throughout border regions in Northern Kosovo.

Update (1644 EST): Serbian President Vucic has reportedly arrived at the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic Headquarters in Belgrade.

Update (1520 EST):

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Update (1517 EST): Spanish PM Sanchez has reportedly departed Belgrade, a full day before scheduled departure, reportedly due to the growing threat of violence.

Update (1501 EST): Ukrainian Rada member calling for Ukrainian support to Kosovo in the event of a Serbian invasion.

Update (1446 EST): According to VK users, several Italian NATO-Kosovo Force members and Kosovar Special Forces units have been deployed to border crossing bridges in Mitrovica.

Update (1414 EST): From the Serbian Ministry of Defense.

Kosovo Police have announced the closing of border crossing points at Brnjak and Jarinje in response to demonstrations and blockades erected by civilians in Rudare area of Zvecan and Zupce area near Zunil Potok in Mitrovica District. The bridge over the Ibar River has also been closed.

Serbian President Vucic is set to address the nation in one hour as Serbian aircraft have been deployed to bases near the border. The Deputy Commander of the Northern Region of Kosovo Police told press that he was unsure of the reasons for air raid sirens which have rung out, and gunfire, near these border crossing points.

The two nations have had serious border spats since the independence of Kosovo in 2013. Serbia still does not officially recognize the independence and NATO had officially taken over border patrols starting in October of 2021, especially in light of the 2021 license plate debacle.

This is developing.

 

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Ethan Alun
Ethan Alun
A United States Naval Academy and American Military University Alumni, Ethan covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.
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