Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic delivered an “emergency address” to his country Sunday afternoon. He claimed that Kosovo would attack Serbia without any evidence.
President Vucic speaks on Kosovo tonight:
“We will continue to ask for peace. But, I will tell you straight away that there won’t be any surrender. Serbia will prevail if they attempt to persecute Serbs and bully Serbs or kill Serbs. pic.twitter.com/dgeJmcyteQ
— Visegrad 24 (@visegrad24) July 31, 2022
“The situation for our people in Kosovo and Metohija is very complicated and complex (…) many people have reduced their attitude towards Kosovo and Metohija to sloganeering in which they say ‘Kosovo is Serbia’ and that’s all, but I don’t think we have ever been in a more complex and difficult situation than it is today”, said Vucic in his address to the public regarding the situation in Kosovo.
He stated that Pristina’s regime is trying to profit from the current international situation.
They decided to impose conditions they don’t have the right to, in particular on people living in northern Kosovo and Metohija. In advance, they sent their units with 21 tons of fuel and everything else to the administrative crossings of Jarinje and Brnjak, with the desire to stop all those who have Serbian identity cards. Vucic stated that all this will begin tonight at midnight and they’ll be persuading the Serbs not to use KM plates.
For those who do not have clocks that show the time in world capitals (should Belgrade be considered such), the midnight hour in Serbia is at 6 p.m. EDT.
After the death of Josip Brz Tito in 1945, Yugoslavia fell into civil war. The Croats and Slovenia declared independence, and war broke out between Croatia and “Yugoslavia” in 1991. That war resulted in Slovenian independence after a “ten-day war” and Croatia’s independence in 1995. Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence in 1992. A war ensued that was settled in 1995 with recognition of the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Macedonia left peacefully in 1992. The resulting state of Serbia and Montenegro broke up in 2006 when Montenegro declared independence. Kosovo, a mostly Albanian and mostly Muslim province, experienced an insurgency from 1998-1999. The insurgency ended when the Serbian forces were withdrawn and a NATO-led peacekeeping force was inserted called Kosovo Force (KFOR). Kosovo was still part of Serbia.
In 2008, Kosovo declared independence. Serbia did not recognize Kosovo’s independence. Most of NATO and the EU and a little over half the UN membership granted recognition.
In practice, Kosovo’s governance is more like an independent republic’s operations, with Serbia having a substantial say in the appointments to Kosovo’s security apparatus.
Since 2008, Serbia and Kosovo have had a fraught relationship. Kosovo’s imposition of reciprocal treatment to Serbs is the primary cause. Serbia demanded that Kosovo citizens have an ID card in order to enter Serbia. However, Serbian citizens needed only their passports. Premier Minister Albin Kurti, the Kosovo government, changed this to make it mandatory for Serbs to possess a Kosovo-issued ID.
This round of hardball took place because Kurti wants to prove that Kosovo is autonomous. This unilateral action was taken by Kurti and not through an EU-mediated process to address “bilateral problems.” It undermines Vucic’s claim that Kosovo is Serbian and all matters are under his control.
It appears that shots were fired either from Serbia towards Kosovo, or from Serbia in the vicinity of Kosovo. Although no one was hurt, it does increase tensions.
Kosovo PM Kurti confirmed gunshots were fired by Serbian criminals in the north, and urges calm. He also warns against disinformation.
“The hours&days ahead can be challenging. “We are facing the chauvinism we all know. We will work night and day for our democratic Republic.” pic.twitter.com/mA85SpTIwk
— Admirim (@admirim) July 31, 2022
KFOR has been placed on alert and moved its troops to the area of trouble.
The #NATO Mission in Kosovo, KFOR, has said it is ready to intervene if the country’s stability is threatened in northern Kosovo. #Vucic has launched an emergency appeal to the nation in connection with the situation in #Kosovo after the meeting with Military officials.. pic.twitter.com/WHCH12zfQf
— Valeria (@Valere_ia) July 31, 2022
The Russians have, surprise!, weighed in for their Serb allies.
All in all there are a lot alarmist messages floating about. There are very low chances of NATO troops being targeted by shots. However, this is a good way for Russia make some mischief and upset parts of Eastern Europe. This may seem like an insignificant amount, but it is important to remember the country that started World War I. It believed it was possible to go nose-to–nose with NATO. We shouldn’t dismiss everything as possible based on what we have seen this year.