As this publication reported on 26 May 23, Serbian President Vucic deployed forces to the Kosovo border in the face of political unrest as ethnic Albanian mayors took office in several ethnic Serbian towns after previous mass resignations of Serbian politicians and police earlier this year.
The snap April elections were in response to the resignations. A total of 19 polling stations were opened in North Mitrovica, Zubin Potok, Zvecan and Leposavic, with 45,000 Kosovo citizens eligible to vote. But just 1567 people cast a ballot, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC). These results were met with harsh backlash from ethnic Serbs in Northern Kosovo and from Belgrade.
The situation has further deteriorated as NATO peacekeeping forces deployed earlier today to several border areas, including Leposavic and and Zvecan.
— Xhemajl Rexha (@xhemajl_rexha) May 29, 2023
Yesterday, Serbian Defense Minister Vucevic announced that the high combat readiness levels would extend until further notice and that “tension is at a maximum and could explode at any moment”. He reiterated today that by 1400L, “military formations will be deployed along administrative line with Kosovo and Serbia.”
Kosovo Prime Minister Kurti made an impassioned plea that both parties submit to the Basic Agreement and to deescalate the situation in the North.
Had a phone conversation with the Italian DPM&MFA @Antonio_Tajani earlier today. We both agreed that the current time calls for the implementation of the Basic Agreement and the situation in the north to be calmed down.
— Albin Kurti (@albinkurti) May 29, 2023
The U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo expressed his “deep concern” heading into several meetings with four mayors of these northern municipalities in Pristina. He is also meeting with Kosovo Vetevendosje political party leaders Atiq and Atemi to discuss the escalating situation. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov described the situation as a ticking time bomb and that “an explosion in Europe could occur at any moment.”
Meanwhile, NATO Kosovo Forces Commander Ristucci warned the public that all necessary steps will be taken to secure government buildings and that shooting incidents become more likely if protestors attempt to take these buildings by force. His troops and local Kosovar police have already employed tear gas against protestors in Zvecan, which appears to be the epicenter of the political unrest.
— NATO Kosovo Force – KFOR (@NATO_KFOR) May 29, 2023
This is developing.