Embassy in Serbia denies reports of Russians being detained in Kosovo

The Russian Embassy in Serbia denied information about the detention of two Russian citizens while trying to enter the territory of Kosovo, which was spread by local media.

Embassy in Serbia denies reports of Russians being detained in Kosovo

According to a number of Kosovo Albanian portals, two Russian citizens – Sergei Belous and Oleg Derkach – were detained on Friday night by the police of self-proclaimed Kosovo while trying to enter the territory of the province from central Serbia. They allegedly had “electronic devices” with them. Sergei Belous previously collaborated with a number of Russian media outlets. The police of the self-proclaimed republic did not officially confirm the arrest.

“The office of the Russian Embassy in Serbia in Pristina promptly checked the information that appeared in the Kosovo Albanian media about the incident involving two Russian citizens. The journalists were not detained by the Kosovar “law enforcement agencies. At present, the entire film crew is in Central Serbia”, the diplomatic mission said.

“We regard this as arbitrariness and violation of the principles of freedom of the media, which the patrons of the Kosovo pseudo-statehood are so concerned about,” the Russian diplomatic mission stressed.

The incident took place against the background of aggravation in the sevres of the region. On Thursday, near the Brnjak checkpoint on the administrative line between central Serbia and self-proclaimed Kosovo, at about 11.00 (12.00 Moscow time), special forces of the Kosovo police beat three Serbs, residents of the municipality of Zubin Potok Dragisha Vlashkovic, Zoran Tomovic and Jovan Takov. The victims were taken for examination at the Kosovska-Mitrovica hospital.

Serbs, compactly living in the north of Kosovo, on Monday morning began a peaceful protest at the Yarine checkpoint located on the road from Pristina to Belgrade on the administrative line between central Serbia and the autonomous province and at the Brnjak checkpoint on the road from Kosovska Mitrovica to Novi -Pazar. There and at two other points in the north of Kosovo, fighters from the ROSU, a subdivision of the Kosovo Interior Ministry, are stationed. According to the Serbian leadership, the Kosovo special forces entered the north of the region with 350 soldiers, 20 armored vehicles and snipers. Serbs blocked the roads towards the checkpoint from the Kosovo side with trucks and construction equipment.

On Monday evening, the Kosovo police fired several tear gas bombs at the Serbs who had gathered at the Brnjak checkpoint, the protesters retreated several tens of meters, but said they would not disperse. It is reported that tear gas was also used at the Yarina checkpoint, where the protesters also refuse to disperse. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in a special address on Monday evening that Serbia will call on NATO and the international KFOR contingent under the auspices of the alliance to protect the lives and property of Serbs in Kosovo.

The self-proclaimed republic’s police announced on Monday that vehicles with Serbian registration plates will no longer be able to enter Kosovo, and temporary Kosovo plates must be installed at the entrance. The installation of license plates in the self-proclaimed republic not only causes a moral protest among the Serbs, but also forces them to spend money on temporary registration plates and waste time installing them. Earlier, new equipped containers for the work of customs and police personnel were delivered to checkpoints from Pristina, which alerted local Serbs.

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