Yesterday, late in the evening, the sirens and bells of churches and monasteries rang out in the city of Kosovska Mitrovica, north of Kosovo, one of the hottest areas of conflict that has not completely subsided between Kosovo and Serbs. The situation on the border with Serbia is in danger of exploding. Belgrade has reinforced its military hardware on the border, with Russia insisting that it not be recognized as an independent state. The international military force (KFOR), to which Italy also belongs, called on men to patrol the streets of the region: “Let’s monitor the situation.”
At the heart of the renewed tension is a seemingly marginal question: license plate numbers. Fourteen years after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, about 50,000 Serbs living in the north are using registration plates and documents issued by the Belgrade authorities, refusing to recognize Pristina’s institutions. But starting today, new measures launched by the capital of Kosovo will come into effect requiring everyone, including Kosovo Serbs, to have approved identity cards and license plates.
by Anna Lombardi
Serbian President Aleksandar VucicSpeaking to the nation, he said, “Kosovo Serbs will not tolerate further persecution. We will seek peace, but let me tell you we will not surrender. Serbia is not a country that can be defeated as easily as it was under Milosevic.” Vucic then went to the headquarters of the General Staff of his country’s armed forces. To follow up on the situation, he said he did not rule out the “Kosovo attack.”
“Pristina knows that the Serbs will not remain indifferent when it comes to a direct attack on their liberties, and will prepare for a military scenario,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement published by the Russian news agency TASS. Zakharova also noted that such a turn of events is further evidence of the failure of the EU mediation mission.
Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin CortiAnd accused Serb groups “illegal” to open fire on the Kosovo police on the border with Serbia. Demonstrators gathered in the afternoon in the country’s streets to protest against the new law on number plates and identity cards, and the customers were shot without injuries. Tension between the two countries is now at its highest level in years. The 3,770-strong NATO mission is monitoring the fragile peace. In 2013, the two countries engaged in an EU-sponsored dialogue to try to resolve the outstanding issues, but little progress was made.
“Reader. Travel maven. Student. Passionate tv junkie. Internet ninja. Twitter advocate. Web nerd. Bacon buff.”