Attacks on Serbs in Kosovo have increased, Belgrade says

Increased attacks on Serbs and their property, as well as facilities of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) in Kosovo, are fueled by Kosovo Albanian politicians in Pristina, the Serbian government’s office for Kosovo and Metohija said.

Attacks on Serbs in Kosovo have increased, Belgrade says

“All the attacks, which are increasingly taking place against the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija, are accompanied by explosive statements by the authorities in Pristina. It is disturbing that none of their politicians condemned any incident, the perpetrators were not detained, and representatives of the European and world organizations whose task is to maintain peace, freedom and security in Kosovo”, – the Serbian ministry said in a statement.

This inscription caused great alarm among the local Serbs. The leadership of the municipality of Gracanica called on the international contingent of KFOR under the auspices of NATO in the province to ensure their safety, since “the police of the self-proclaimed Kosovo cannot do this.” The incident on Thursday took place on the day of the arrival in Kosovo of the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance Jens Stoltenberg, who held meetings with the KFOR command and the Kosovo Albanian authorities.

In 1999, an armed confrontation between Albanian separatists from the Kosovo Liberation Army and the Serbian army and police led to the bombing of Yugoslavia (which at that time consisted of Serbia and Montenegro) by NATO forces from March to June.

NATO forces were deployed in the autonomous province on June 12, 1999, following the bombing of Yugoslavia and the withdrawal of Serbian troops and police from Kosovo and Metohija. According to the information on the website of the KFOR international mission, representatives of 28 states are now participating in it, not all of which are NATO members. The exact data on the size of the group has not been reported, the figure has been published about 4 thousand servicemen. Camp Bondsteel, under the command of the United States, near the town of Uroševac, is one of the largest American military bases in Europe.

In March 2004, the Kosovar Albanians staged pogroms, which led to the massive resettlement of Serbs from the region and the destruction of numerous monuments of their history and culture. According to the version accepted by Belgrade, the Kosovar Albanians had planned the violence on March 17-18, 2004 in advance, more than 60 thousand people took part in it. As a result of three days of riots in the region, 30 people were killed, 950 civilians and members of the international security forces were injured, and about 1000 Serbian houses were destroyed. The Serbian Orthodox Church claims 35 burnt and destroyed churches and monasteries. Tens of thousands of Serbs subsequently left Kosovo and Metohija, and only a few returned.

Remaining in Kosovo and Metohija, about 100 thousand Serbs live in the north of the province and in several enclaves in the center and south. On February 17, 2008, the Kosovo-Albanian structures in Pristina unilaterally declared independence from Serbia. The self-proclaimed republic is not recognized by Serbia, Russia, China, Iran, Spain, Greece and a number of other states. In 2011, under pressure from the European Union, the Serbian authorities began negotiations with the Kosovo Albanian administration in Pristina.

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