Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met with the Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Chepurin in Belgrade on Thursday, to discuss the tensions in the predominantly Serb-populated parts of northern Kosovo, prompted by a large scale Kosovan police operation, which saw the arrest of one Russian citizen.

On Tuesday, Kosovo special forces raided several locations in Mitrovica, Zvecani, Zubin Potok and Leposavic, arresting 19 people, reports say. Pristina police authorities said it was a large scale anti-smuggling operation against acting police officers, adding that five officers and six civilians were injured after it was met with resistance in Mitrovica.

Two United Nation Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) staff members, including one Russian citizen, were arrested and released later in the day. The detained Russian UN worker was also hospitalised the same day, as he was reportedly ‘beaten’ by the police.

In Belgrade, speaking at an extraordinary parliament meeting on the matter, Vucic told MPs that he ordered troops to be on a high level of combat readiness to act if tensions escalate. He added that Serbia is interested in keeping the peace.

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