Since Vucic's speech in the parliament some days ago I'm quite convinced that Kosovo ist lost for Serbia. Never heard that much defiatism from a prime minister. I believe he'll try to get some piece of Kosovo's North and sell it as a big win while his government waves Kosovo through the UN. I don't think they would ever recognize the independent Kosovo, but then that's petty anyway. On the other hand, I doubt that Kosovo-Albanians and the West are willing to leave any part of Kosovo in Serbia.
Post by TsarSamuil on May 31, 2019 11:50:56 GMT -5
Serbia: Pres. Vucic visits Russian UN worker reportedly injured in Kosovo police raid.
Ruptly May 31, 2019
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic paid a visit to a Russian UN official, who was reportedly injured during an operation by Kosovan police earlier in the week, in Belgrade's Military Medical Academy hospital on Friday.
Mikhail Krasnoschekov, who works for the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), was reportedly detained and assaulted on Tuesday, during an operation carried out by the Special Forces of Kosovo (ROSU) in the northern municipalities of Kosovo and Metohija.
Vucic visited Krasnoschekov together with Serbian Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin and Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Chepurin.
After visiting Krasnoschekov at the hospital, the Serbian president said that the Russian UN official "is in good condition," however adding that "it is not easy to be in a good shape after this kind of injuries."
Vucic argued that Kosovo's special forces "wanted to intimidate the whole Serbian population."
He went on to say, "They didn't care that they also attacked Russian citizens and a UN employee because there is only one thing they care about, and that's the US support. No matter what they do to Russia or to Serbia - it doesn't matter to them - as long as they have support of the US, in this case of the US mission in OSCE, which in this case commended them for a good anti-corruption action."
Talk, talk talk, all they do is talk, we need war.
New War Brewing in Balkans! NATO-Backed Greater Albania Project Targets Serbia!
Vesti News Jun 3, 2019
It's time to pay attention to it. A new war is brewing in the Balkans. It threatens to scorch Serbia. There's no other way to perceive the statement by the president of Kosovo on Friday, Hashim Thaci, that if the European Union doesn't open itself to Kosovo, then Kosovo will unite with Albania and seize a part of Serbia. The reason for such a statement by Thaci is the delayed visa liberalization with the EU. But it's a much more serious matter.
Not Having It! UN Representative Calls Out Kosovo’s Bull**** Excuse For Kidnapping Russian Diplomat!
Vesti News Jun 12, 2019
What the Kosovan officials did to Russian diplomat Mikhail Krasnoshchekov is flagrant, stated First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy during the discussion of the situation in Kosovo. He described the explanations of the Kosovo representatives as "unworthy” of the UN Security Council meeting room.
Last Edit: Jun 12, 2019 13:47:37 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
Post by TsarSamuil on Sept 11, 2019 15:22:57 GMT -5
‘Warn him of consequences’: Czech president wants to WALK BACK Kosovo recognition, US takes notice.
RT.com 11 Sep, 2019 19:54
Speaking in Serbia, the anti-mainstream Czech President Miloš Zeman said he’d like his goverment to withdraw recognition of the breakaway Kosovo province as an independent state. This has immediately attracted attention in the US.
Zeman expressed his Kosovo wish on Wednesday, during his official visit to Belgrade. He also said that he would discuss the issue with Czech lawmakers when he gets back to Prague.
The president would “ask the Czech government if it’s possible to review the recognition of Kosovo,” his spokesman Jiri Ovčaček wrote on Twitter.
Should Prague follow through on Zeman’s desire, Czechia would become the first European country to withdraw the recognition of Kosovo, as well as the first EU and NATO member to do so.
This isn’t the first time Zeman has bucked EU and NATO political consensus over an issue. His most notable departures include the migrant crisis and Ukraine, which he called a “mafia state.”
It didn’t take long for Zeman’s comments to attract American attention. Dan Baer, US ambassador to the OSCE during the second Barack Obama administration, called the proposal “destabilizing” and added the US should privately tell the Czech president “what consequences will befall” him if he proceeds.
Kosovo has been under the control of an international peacekeeping force since a NATO war on Yugoslavia 1999, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244. Its provisional government declared independence from Serbia in 2008, and has been recognized by more than 100 countries, mostly US allies.
Since then, a number of nations have had second thoughts, with more than 10 countires formally revoking recognition.
Five EU countries – Spain, Slovakia, Cyprus, Greece and Romania – are among those who have refused to recognize Kosovo, in addition to Russia, China, and Serbia itself.
Had Putin been Russian president in 1999, Serbia wouldn't have been bombed – Vucic.
RT.com 4 Dec, 2019 19:52
NATO would not have bombed Serbia in 1999 if Vladimir Putin had been the Russian president then, said Serbian leader Aleksandar Vucic praising friendly relations between Moscow and Belgrade.
Vucic believes Serbians value the current Russian leader more than any in recent history, as they are confident of Moscow's steadfast support of their nation’s sovereignty.
“We believe that in 1999, if Putin had already been president there would have never been a bombing of Serbia,” Vucic told journalists at a press conference following his talks with the Russian leader in Sochi on Wednesday.
He said that the Serbs would also never “forget 2012 when Mr. Putin saved us from the West designating us a people that practice genocide.” He was referring to the time when Russia blocked a UN resolution, backed by the US and the UK, which would recognize 1995 Srebrenica massacre – a tragic event from the Bosnian War – as genocide, while blaming solely the Serbs for the events of the said civil war.
Serbia traditionally enjoys cordial relationship with Russia, partly due to close historical and cultural ties. Putin in particular appears to have sway among the Serbs due to his stance on the 1999 NATO bombing of what was then still called Yugoslavia.
The Russian president has also repeatedly expressed his support for Serbia’s territorial integrity, guaranteed by the UN Security Council Resolution 1244, that calls for "substantial autonomy” for the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo but still says that its final status should be determined by the UN. The resolution thus means that Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence, made outside of the UN framework in 2008, is null and void.
Russia and Serbia are among about half the world's governments that do not recognize Kosovo.
Putin's firm line is often contrasted in Serbia with that of his predecessor Boris Yeltsin, who went no further than verbal condemnations of NATO at the UN during the 1999 bombing campaign. The Alliance carried out 900 sorties during the brutal 78-day war, which officially claimed at least 758 civilian lives and sided with an ethnic Albanian insurgency in Kosovo against the government in Belgrade.
Too little, too late: Kosovo President Thaçi’s indictment for war crimes 20 years on isn’t justice for Serbia – it’s a travesty.
John Laughland, RT 26 Jun, 2020 17:51
Of the many criticisms I’ve made over the years of international tribunals, the most painful is surely the human cost of the terrible slowness with which they operate.
I’ve often quoted the case of the commander-in-chief of the Rwandan gendarmerie during the genocide of 1994, Augustin Ndindiliyimana, who was arrested in 2000 but acquitted of all charges in 2014. That meant an innocent man spent 14 years of his life in prison – time that he’ll never get back.
Unfortunately, there are many examples of trials at international tribunals that drag on for so long that they violate the right to the ‘prompt’ appearance before a judge and to a trial ‘within a reasonable time’ outlined as basic rights in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966.
A sad illustration of this general truth came on June 24, when it was announced that an obscure international court had indicted the serving president of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, for murder and war crimes committed in 1998–1999, when he was commander-in-chief of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).
As someone who strongly and vocally opposed the NATO attack on Yugoslavia in 1999, which was justified in the name of ‘human rights,’ and as the last Western journalist to have met and interviewed the former Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic, in his cell in The Hague, before writing a book about his trial after he died in custody, it could be expected that I would welcome this announcement.
During and after the bombing of Yugoslavia, I drew attention to NATO’s war propaganda, which wildly exaggerated and misrepresented atrocities committed by Serb forces against Albanians in Kosovo. I also drew attention to atrocities committed by the KLA, which NATO propaganda never mentioned. In December 1999, for instance, I wrote that the KLA was “a brutal drugs-running terrorist force which is even now carrying out ethnic cleansing by attacking and killing Serbs, Gypsies, Jews, Muslims and ‘disloyal’ Albanians.”
Mine was a nearly lone voice crying in the wilderness. In June 1999, Kosovo was occupied by NATO forces, after Yugoslavia was bombed into submission, and the KLA commanders, whom the USA and other Western countries had armed to fight the Serbs, became the new political leaders of the province.
Thaci had been wooed by State Department officials such as James Rubin, the then spokesman, who, after June 1999, swaggered around Pristina with him, wearing the same gangster uniform of black leather jacket, T-shirt and sunglasses. He later wowed Washington – a famous picture shows the dashing and tall Thaci kissing the then Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. He was also photographed fraternizing with the British commander of NATO forces, General Sir Mike Jackson, the French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, and the American supreme commander of NATO, Wesley Clark.
Less than ten years later, when, in 2008, again with Western support, Kosovo proclaimed its independence from Serbia – an independence recognized by all but five EU states and, of course, by the USA – Hashim Thaci became prime minister and then president. He has been in power since then.
It was not until 2011 that a report by the Council of Europe detailed some of the more gruesome allegations against Thaci and his gang. The worst was that Serbs had been murdered for their vital organs, which were harvested from the corpses to be sold.
This report led to the creation of a small special tribunal in The Hague, which has now issued the indictment against Thaci. Unfortunately, the indictment is not yet public, so we have to guess what crimes are in it, but the court’s press statement speaks of “nearly 100 murders.”
The immediate effect of this announcement has been that Hashim Thaci has withdrawn from a meeting at the White House, where he was due to discuss a land swap with the Serbian president, Aleksandar Vucic. The Trump administration had been very keen to broker a deal between the two countries, and this has now suffered a major setback. It is a textbook case of how, far from promoting peace, the obsessive search for ‘justice’ can often be an obstacle to it.
Personally, I believe Thaci is guilty, and that Serbia has been the victim of a terrible injustice. But a prosecution now, even if successful, will not undo the catastrophic physical, economic and political damage done by NATO’s crazed bombing of that small country back in 1999, any more than the acquittal of Ndindiliyimana gave him back the lost years of his life.
Indeed, to ‘rectify’ that injustice now, 20 years after the events, is not justice but instead – to quote the title of my book on the Milosevic trial – a travesty. It would be like glossing over the original injustice and pretending it had been absolved. Serbia has lost 20 years, like an innocent man sent to prison.
Justice is the award to each person of his due. It requires the power of the state to be administered: criminals must be punished by force. International justice is the same: it can exist only if force is used to apply it.
But as Prince Metternich’s secretary at the 1814 Congress of Vienna, Friedrich von Gentz, wrote, “It is impossible to accept that a state can voluntarily submit to a sentence by a superior court. Just as within a state violence often has to be applied to execute law, so in conflicts between peoples it would be necessary to implement judicial decisions by punitive measures. But a punitive measure against a state is nothing other than war.”
So, just as NATO sought to punish Serbia by force, thereby, in fact, committing a gross injustice, so Thaci’s conviction could occur only if the court wielded police or military power in Kosovo. Thaci and his supporters will resist any attempt to arrest him, so the issue, like all such ultimate political questions, can only be settled by violence.
The violence might perhaps be justified if the cause is just. But violence is the opposite of peace. ‘International justice’ is a chimera that excites people’s passions, encourages them to commit violence or wage war, and that should be abandoned.
Thaci entered the court sending a message to the Albanian supporters who welcomed him.
TANJUG MONDAY, JULY 13, 2020 | 18:49
He should be questioned about the indictment charging him with war crimes committed in Kosovo and Metohija.
Before entering the court, Thaci said that he fought for an independent and free Kosovo, "based on equal rights, a multiethnic society and the rule of law," and that he was ready to face new challenges and triumphs for his son, family, people and his own state, Pristina media reported.
"No one can rewrite history. This is the price of freedom. I believe in peace, truth and justice. I believe in dialogue and good relations with all neighbors. Kosovo is a success story and I am very proud of that. Kosovo's destination is EU membership, NATO and lasting friendship with the United States," Thaci said.
Pristina media report that several dozen Albanians were waiting for him in front of the court headquarters, protesting against the indictment, which together with him charges PDK leader Kadri Veseli and others.
The Albanians who welcomed him carry various banners and chant Thaci, reports Koha Ditore.
The indictment against Thaci was filed on April 24 and is now with the judge, in charge of reviewing it and making a decision on confirmation, the Specialized Prosecutor's Office announced at the end of June.
According to the statement of the prosecutor, Thaci, Veseli and other suspects from the indictment are charged with almost 100 murders.
The victims of the indictment are hundreds of people whose identities are known, including Kosovo Albanians, Serbs, Roma and people of other nationalities, as well as political opponents.
In December 2011, Swiss Senator Dick Marty published a report by the Council of Europe which listed several former leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) who were involved in war crimes.
The Kosovo Assembly adopted the law on the establishment of the Specialized Chambers and the Specialized Prosecutor's Office in August 2015.
Their headquarters were moved to The Hague due to the safety of the victims and witnesses of the upcoming proceedings.
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci resigns to face war crimes charges at The Hague.
RT.com 5 Nov, 2020 12:37
Kosovo’s president, Hashim Thaci, has resigned and is set to face the International Criminal Court in The Hague, after an indictment charging him with crimes against humanity and war crimes was confirmed in court.
“As I promised I will not go before the court as President of Kosovo,” Thaci said during a Thursday press conference in Kosovo’s capital, Pristina. The leader explained his pre-trial resignation, saying he wishes to avoid harming “the integrity of the Kosovo presidency, the state of Kosovo and the people of Kosovo.”
The indictment was filed in June by the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office. It included not only the president, but several other former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) members turned-politicians, including Kadri Veseli, leader of the Democratic Party.
KLA was an ethnically Albanian guerrilla group, which fought Serbian control and sought to separate Kosovo from Yugoslavia and Serbia in the 1990s. It was active through the 90s and the 2000s, until Kosovo declared independence in 2008.
At that time, Thaci’s nom de guerre was ‘the Snake’, for his ability to evade authorities. While a KLA commander, the future president was allegedly involved in assassinating Kosovar politicians and military officers, for which Pristina’s District court sentenced him in absentia to 10 years in prison in 1997.
Prosecutors accuse Thaci of being responsible for almost 100 murders. The head of Kosovo’s parliament will take over as acting president until a new leader can be elected.
Post by TsarSamuil on Jan 23, 2021 18:54:34 GMT -5
Serbian lawyers to file first lawsuits against NATO over use of depleted uranium munitions in 1999.
RT.com 20 Jan, 2021 12:23
A team of legal experts is set to file the first cases against the NATO alliance on behalf of people who developed cancer after being exposed to depleted uranium munitions during the Serbian bombings in 1999.
The first lawsuit is expected to be filed before the Higher Court in Belgrade on Wednesday, following years of extensive work by a team of legal experts led by lawyer Srdjan Aleksic. Dozens of other lawsuits will be filed before other courts across the country as well. The team is seeking to win compensation of at least €300,000 ($363,500) for each Serbian victim who developed cancer.
"We are talking about the highest courts, to which we will file five lawsuits. The victims are natural persons – deceased and sick soldiers and police officers of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, who were in Kosovo in 1999. At the first stage, we want them to be identical cases, as in the Italian military," Aleksic told Sputnik, referring to hundreds of Italian NATO soldiers who suffered from cancer and other severe conditions after being exposed to depleted uranium (DU) during the alliance's campaign against Serbia.
The legal team has received support from Angelo Fiore Tartaglia, an Italian lawyer who successfully represented affected solders in court.
"He has 181 court rulings, which have already entered into force in Europe. He will be a member of my legal expert team," Aleksic stated, expressing optimism over the cases' prospects, given all the evidence the team has gathered.
"We have more than 3,000 pages of materials, including verdicts, expert opinions, materials of a special Italian government commission. We have collected enough evidence," he said.
While the use of DU munitions in the Balkans has been openly admitted by NATO, proving a link between them and cancer proved to be an extremely difficult task, with the alliance denying any such correlation.
In its 2000 report on depleted uranium – which is used to make the hardened cores of armor-piercing rounds – NATO acknowledged that it used some 10 metric tons of the material during its Kosovo campaign, and 300 times more during the First Gulf War.
While the report acknowledged that the material poses a threat due to its toxicity in an "aerosol form" – basically, when the armor-piercing core is evaporated during a hit – it maintained that DU is not "particularly highly radioactive" and poses "practically no danger" when ingested or entering body directly through wounds.
At the same time, the alliance admitted that "in the vicinity of the impact point of DU ammunitions, it is not excluded that individuals unaware of the contamination... could have accumulated radiation doses and/or could have incorporated uranium quantities exceeding the internationally recognized limits."
The use of DU was also acknowledged by the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, but it said that "there is no specific treaty ban on the use of DU projectiles."
Leaked files expose London’s cloak-and-dagger scheming to secure the permanent divorce of Kosovo from Serbia.
RT.com 27 Jul, 2021 18:02
Documents have revealed Whitehall’s multimillion-pound involvement in efforts to increase support for Kosovo’s national government among the Serbs, proving once again Britain cannot resist flexing its neocolonial muscles.
In September 2020, Pristina and Belgrade agreed to normalize economic relations, in a move hailed by the mainstream media as historic. However, the concord failed to resolve the many serious questions that have hovered over Kosovo’s future ever since it controversially declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
The primary source of contention is four northern municipalities where ethnic Kosovo Serbs comprise a majority of the population. While nominally part of the aspiring state, the quartet remains under de facto Serbian rule. Both a partition and a land swap have been discussed intensively over the years at the highest levels, although the current position of Kosovo’s prime minister, Albin Kurti, is that no territorial concessions will be made to Belgrade whatsoever.
Pristina is supported in this intransigence by a number of Western countries, including the UK, which played a pivotal role in the 1999 NATO bombing campaign that vanquished Serb forces from most of Kosovo. Newly leaked files now make clear London is attempting to finish the job, not through brute force, but by manipulation, in the guise of a community bridge-building endeavor.
Dubbed ‘Strengthening Positive Peace in Kosovo and Serbia’, and costing £5 million between 2020 and 2022, it aims to engender increased support for Kosovo’s national government among Serbs, challenge “identity-based narratives” and achieve “social change at a national level” – in other words, reduce tensions between local populations, and diminish any notion of a difference between them.
“Communities in Kosovo and Serbia will be more resilient against divisive or conflict-generating narratives, which will become less prominent in mainstream discourse, and play an active civic role to emphasise cooperation and development for all parts of their societies,” the project’s proposed “theory of change” states.
Noble ambitions in theory, although when considered in tandem with previously leaked Foreign Office files related to covert activities targeted at Russophones in the Baltic states, the interpretation that this is ultimately concerned with compelling ethnic Serbs in Kosovo to forsake their motherland, and accept they are now and forevermore will be guests in an ‘independent’ foreign country, is amply reinforced.
As in the Baltics, Whitehall specifically aimed to “engage” Kosovo’s youth in various activities and programs as “agents of change,” building their capacity to become “social entrepreneurs,” and “campaign and advocate on relevant social issues across ethnic divides.” Young citizens “unable to emigrate” were of particular interest, presumably on the basis their unemployment and lack of opportunities would make them more likely and willing to engage.
“National and regional media outlets and social media influencers” would also be recruited to “promote alternative narratives” and “amplify the project’s models and successes, encourage alternative narratives, disseminate locally-driven narratives through credible change agents [and] influencers,” mobilizing youth participation in local projects in the process.
Underlining the sinister nature of the “peace” initiative, a dedicated section in one file outlines the enormous efforts that would be undertaken to obscure the UK’s involvement and maintain the false impression publicly that the effort was a strictly local affair.
All participating organizations and their employees were to sign non-disclosure agreements, and “briefed and instructed” on “how to represent project funding” if asked, although only staff at the highest levels would have any idea of London’s hidden hand. No internal or external communications were to mention Whitehall or contain its branding, and staff running social media platforms associated with the project would be careful to geotag posts in “the area of the targeted population,” rather than their actual location.
Moreover, social media advertising was to be “carefully calibrated to ensure growth is perceived as organic, rather than the result of external funding,” with “social media, traditional media, and local interlocutors” constantly monitored “to understand how target audience(s) perceive project channels [and] identify any association of the project with the UK government or other donors.” In the event anyone’s cover was blown, an evacuation plan – including “measures to remove or destroy data, including hard drives” – would be promptly activated.
Quite some ruse, but then Whitehall has every reason to obscure its true role – if the Serbs caught wind, they would quite understandably be suspicious of the endeavor’s true objectives. Still, were anyone in a position of power to raise objections about the project or indeed any other covert UK action in the Balkans, they could in short order find themselves in deep trouble.
A separate leaked file, related to a “rule of law initiative” run by the National Security Council’s Stabilisation Unit, makes very clear that London won’t tolerate high-level opposition to its agenda for the region, and will readily employ active measures to neutralize any and all resistance.
“In contexts where elite incentives are not aligned with our objectives/values… an approach that seeks to hold elite politicians to account might be needed,” the document obliquely yet ominously states.
To this end, the Unit planned to “build relationships and alliances with those who share our objectives and values for reform” by funding and “mentoring” a nexus of homegrown NGOs and civil society organizations to “bring local governments to account” and “align the programme with stated goals.”
In other words, the cultivation of an army of trojan horses to lobby, smear, campaign against, and, if necessary, bring down troublesome regional governance actors. The constellation of media organizations dotted across the Balkans funded and trained, if not outright created, in secret by the UK – some of which were recently exposed by this journalist – could also prove effective in this effort.
It may likewise be significant that a classified document related to strengthening Pristina’s judiciary somewhat amazingly reveals Whitehall plays an intimate role in training and appointing Kosovo’s judges and prosecutors, due to its dissatisfaction with previous appointments. Could this power also have implications for Balkan politicians not sufficiently conducive to London’s machinations?
One can’t help but be reminded of Brazil’s notorious Operation Lava Jato (Car Wash), a bogus anti-corruption psyop in which a shady coterie of US-directed legal activists conspired to prosecute, convict and jail anti-imperialist political figures, such as popular former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, on entirely false charges.
The file furthermore references the 2013 Brussels Agreement, which integrated once-parallel Serb and Kosovan police, security and legal structures in the would-be republic, and mandated the composition of its national and local judicial panels be proportionate to its population. This seemingly confirms London influences their membership too, guaranteeing representatives of both extractions are fully submissive to its goal of achieving Kosovo’s total and permanent severance from Belgrade.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s grandiose plans for a post-Brexit ‘Global Britain’ have been widely panned as a fantastical, dangerous and ill-fated attempt to recover the long-lost glory days of Empire. However, these leaked files make clear the sun never truly set on it in the first place – it’s just that now, dominance of faraway lands is maintained insidiously, by clandestine infiltration of civil society at every level, unknown, unseen, and unconsented to by both the UK’s own population and the citizens of all countries in Whitehall’s neocolonial crosshairs.
Last Edit: Aug 6, 2021 19:43:27 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
Post by TsarSamuil on Sept 22, 2021 12:02:02 GMT -5
Kosovo’s Albanian police ban Serbian license plates, use tear gas against protesters, as US and EU urge ‘restraint’ on both sides.
RT.com 20 Sep, 2021 20:54
Kosovo police have reportedly used tear gas against Serbs protesting the enforcement of new license plate rules at two checkpoints leading to inner Serbia. US and EU calls for all sides to reduce tensions had no effect.
Hundreds of local Serbs have gathered at Jarinje and Brnjak, two ‘border’ crossings between the renegade province – which the ethnic Albanians declared independent in 2008 – and inner Serbia. Heavily armed special units of Kosovo police blocked both checkpoints on Monday morning, insisting that all vehicles with Serbian license plates must get ‘Kosovo’ temporary plates before being allowed to proceed.
Photos from Jarinje showed hundreds of vehicles were backed up for several kilometers into central Serbia. The closure has disrupted the supply of food and medication to Serb communities in the north of the province.
In a replay of events from 2011, local Serbs gathered at the checkpoints and surrounded the police. Police targeted the protesters with tear gas canisters at both Brnjak and Jarinje, but failed to disperse them, local media reported.
Kosovo police have been seizing all license plates from Serb-majority counties in the north of the province, forcing the drivers to use those mandated by the ethnic Albanian government in Pristina, Serbian public television RTS reported. Drivers from central Serbia were told to pay a €5 tax and get temporary ‘Republic of Kosovo’ plates if they wanted to cross into the province.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic addressed the nation on Monday afternoon, saying that the ethnic Albanian authorities “magically” interpreted the 2011 and 2016 free movement agreements to mean something that exists only in the mind of Albin Kurti, the hard-line leader in Pristina.
Calling it a “show of force” by the ethnic Albanians, Vucic added that “it’s very hard to reach a rational solution when dealing with irresponsible people only aiming to increase their power.”
The standoff began as the European Union’s special representative Miroslav Lajcak arrived in Belgrade on Monday for scheduled talks with Vucic ahead of the next round of negotiations with Pristina, due to take place in October.
The EU has urged both sides to “exercise restraint” and use the EU-facilitated mechanisms to resolve this and other outstanding issues.
The US embassy in Pristina has echoed the EU statement, “calling on Kosovo and Serbia to exercise restraint, refrain from further unilateral actions, and reduce tensions – immediately, without delay.”
However, Kurti’s hard-line ‘Self-determination’ party insists there can be no negotiations with Serbia, nothing short of full recognition will do, and has even mulled unification with neighboring Albania.
According to Vucic, Kurti’s delegation has refused to discuss any issue with Serbia, including the fate of the missing persons from the 1999 conflict – in which NATO intervened to back ethnic Albanian separatists and occupied Kosovo following a 78-day air war against the Serbs.
Pristina’s attempted takeover of the two checkpoints exactly a decade ago triggered a four-month-long protest by the local Serbs, which also saw tear gas deployed multiple times and even the use of live ammunition by NATO ‘peacekeepers’. The barricades were forcibly dismantled in February 2012 by Serbian gendarmerie. Vucic first came to power thanks to the backlash against that move, with a coalition led by his Progressive Party winning the presidential and general elections later that year.
While Washington recognizes Kosovo as an independent state, five EU members do not. Neither does Serbia, though the government in Belgrade has made a series of ‘technical’ agreements with Pristina over the years – most recently in September 2020, when the Trump administration in Washington got Israel to recognize Kosovo.
Serbia’s president blasts world’s ‘thunderous silence’ over ‘occupation’ of northern Kosovo as tensions in breakaway region soar.
RT.com 26 Sep, 2021 21:57
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic says foreign partners are turning a blind eye to a security crackdown in Serb-majority areas of Kosovo, where the breakaway region’s forces have brought essential cross-border traffic to a halt.
“The complete occupation of northern Kosovo and Metohija with armored vehicles by Pristina has been going on for the past seven days, and everyone in the international community stays thunderously silent,” Vucic said on Sunday, referring to the region by its Serbian name.
The statement refers to the ongoing crisis in northern Kosovo, involving several crossings into inner Serbia, which have been effectively blocked by the partially recognized authorities of Kosovo after the government in Pristina banned cars with Serbian license plates from entering the region.
Accompanied by a ramped-up security presence, Kosovo police proceeded to seize license plates from the locals, saying they had to be replaced by Republic of Kosovo plates. They banned drivers with Serbian plates from entering Kosovo unless they paid a tax and acquired the newly mandated plates before crossing the border, creating kilometers-long traffic jams.
The situation has disrupted food and medication deliveries to local communities, which, despite now living in the breakaway province, are dependent on supplies from inner Serbia. Attempts by ethnic Serbs to protest at border crossings against what they view as Pristina’s occupation and a crackdown on their local autonomy, have been quelled by tear-gas-firing Kosovo police. On Friday, Reuters cited the police as having said that two government offices were attacked in northern Kosovo, and that disgruntled Serbian residents were blocking the roads.
Serbia responded to the situation by deploying tanks and fighter jets right next door, with footage of the armored vehicles rolling in triggering calls for “restraint” from the US and their allies.
Vucic remarked on Sunday that everyone was “suddenly worried” when they saw “Serbian helicopters and planes over the territory of central Serbia because, I guess, they shouldn’t take off until [Kosovo Prime Minister Albin] Kurti or someone from the international community approves.”
Despite cozying up to the US for years, Vucic has had no public support from Washington, and attempts to resolve the situation via NATO have proven similarly fruitless. Speaking by phone to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Vucic stressed that Serbia remained committed to the 2013 EU-brokered agreement that laid the groundwork for the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina. Stoltenberg only urged Vucic and Kurti to take steps towards de-escalation and dialogue.
Russia, which does not recognize Kosovo’s independence from Serbia, said the Pristina authorities were to blame for the escalation of tensions. The Russian ambassador to Belgrade toured the positions of the Serbian military with the country’s defense minister on Sunday, the Russian embassy saying the Serbs had been acting “responsibly” in the circumstances.
Meanwhile, the EU foreign policy head, Josep Borrell, issued a statement urging both the Serbian and Kosovo authorities “to unconditionally de-escalate the situation on the ground by immediately withdrawing special police units and dismantling roadblocks,” and said they must resolve the crisis via “the EU-facilitated dialogue.”
Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, just over a decade after NATO’s ‘humanitarian intervention’ in the Yugoslav conflict, which saw a bloody guerilla campaign, led by ethnic Albanians, met with a military crackdown by then-President Slobodan Milosevic. The US and its allies sided with the guerilla fighters, bombing former Yugoslavia for three months, destroying its military, as well as civilian infrastructure, and NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force was deployed in Kosovo. An ethnic Albanian rule was eventually established in the province, except for several Serb-majority regions that maintained de-facto autonomy. Despite years of talks, the signing of the 2013 Brussels Agreement, and various suggestions of mutual exchange of territories, the situation remains unresolved, and Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s independence.
Belgrade reportedly deploys tanks at Kosovo border over license plates row.
RT Sep 27, 2021
Serbia has been moving tanks and other military hardware towards the Kosovo border, videos circulating online suggest. Tensions between the country and the breakaway region soared after Kosovo banned Serbian license plates.
Serbia: Army on heightened alert as Kosovo border tensions escalate.
Ruptly Sep 28, 2021
The Serbian Army was spotted patrolling near the border crossing of Jarinje with four armoured vehicles on Monday, as troops have been put on a heightened state of alert amid rising tensions with neighbouring Kosovo. NATO troops also stepped up patrols near the two Kosovo-Serbia crossings.
The military deployment came after Belgrade accused Pristina of escalating tensions by sending special police units to the border. The police were sent after ethnic Kosovo Serbs temporarily blocked the Jarinje and Brnjak borders last week to protest a license plate entry ban. Serbia has for years banned cars from crossing over using a 'Republic of Kosovo' licence plate, which implies its status as an independent nation. The Serbian government demands that drivers replace it with a temporary plate on arrival. As the government of Kosovo has implemented the tit-for-tat ban last week, police and armoured vehicles were sent to the border crossings to enforce the prohibition.
10 Albanians arrested in Kosovo after attacking Serbs as ethnic tensions flare, drawing in Serbia & NATO.
RT.com 28 Sep, 2021 09:30
Police in self-proclaimed Kosovo say they have arrested 10 Albanian citizens for attacking ethnic Serbs. Ethnic tensions have escalated in the breakaway Serbian region, with Serbia, Russia and NATO getting involved.
The 10 Albanians were detained on Monday in the city of Mitrovica in northern Kosovo, after they attacked a group of Serbs visiting a government building on official business, the police reported. The city itself is predominantly Serb, but the incident happened in the southern part, which is overwhelmingly populated by ethnic Albanians.
Eight detainees were kept in custody and charged in connection with the alleged attack, while two others, identified as minors, were released, the report said. The police pledged to hold the underaged assailants accountable for their actions.
The incident highlights the ongoing escalation of ethnic tensions in Northern Kosovo, which ratcheted up last week due to a row between Kosovo and Serbia over the issue of the opposing sides’ non-recognition of the legitimacy of each others’ vehicle licence plates. Kosovo authorities decided to no longer recognize plates issued by Serbia, forcing drivers of vehicles who want to cross the border to buy temporary Kosovo-issued plates instead.
Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s independence and never treated its licence plates as legitimate, so it has been issuing temporary plates for cross-border traffic for a long time.
The Kosovo move was perceived as discriminatory by the local Serb population even as the authorities insisted it was reciprocal. Many Kosovar Serb truck drivers responded by blocking border checkpoints in the north in a gesture of protest. The Kosovo government deployed special police forces to the border in response, further fueling resentment of the Serbs.
As tensions in Kosovo grew, Belgrade got involved too, with President Aleksandar Vucic ordering a military bulid-up along the border and saying that troops would intervene if Kosovar Serbs were targeted with violence. Serbian military planes and helicopters were reported flying along the border in an apparent show of force.
Russia, Serbia’s long-time ally, showed its support by sending officials to inspect Serbian troops in the border region during the weekend. It also stated that the responsibility for the latest escalation was with the Kosovo side and called on them to return to the status quo.
Meanwhile, NATO’s KFOR mission in Kosovo on Monday ramped up patrols along the border, touting it as an attempt to de-escalate the situation. NATO played a key role in helping Kosovo split from Serbia in the late 1990s amid a bloody civil war. The breakaway region declared itself an independent nation in 2008 in a move that was not recognized by two members of the UN Security Council, Russia and China.
The row over licence plates is just one aspect of the festering conflict over Kosovo’s status. Kosovo authorities want to resolve the stand-off by having both sides drop the temporary licence plates scheme. Serbia rejected the proposed solution and demanded a withdrawal of Kosovo troops deployed to the border before EU-mediated talks on the issue could take place.
Standoff over Kosovo 'going from bad to worse,' Russia warns, calling on NATO to step up & prevent military conflict with Serbia.
RT.com 28 Sep, 2021 15:41
As tense relations between Serbia and the breakaway region of Kosovo worsen, Moscow has said the West is failing to step up to the mark in order to prevent all-out conflict breaking out and avoid a return to bloody fighting.
In an official statement issued on Tuesday, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that growing tensions between the two sides are going "from bad to worse." The top official also emphasized that NATO has taken it on itself to keep peace in the disputed region and cautioned that failure to cool the situation could lead to a dangerous escalation.
"NATO's Forces for Kosovo and the EU's Rule of Law Mission have their mandates to prevent lawlessness, and therefore they bear full responsibility for protecting civilians, ensuring peace and security," Zakharova said.
Earlier this week, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic threatened military action in Kosovo if the US-led bloc, which maintains a presence in the area, failed to take matters into its own hands before a row over the de facto shared border worsens. On Monday, NATO bosses announced they had increased patrols along the demarcation line as Belgrade ordered a detachment of armored vehicles to line up along the frontier.
Tensions in the region have run high ever since Kosovo declared independence from Belgrade in 2008, in a move not recognized by Moscow or much of the world. The conflict has however been reignited after officials in Kosovo prohibited cars with Serbian license plates from entering into its territory, forcing drivers to pay for temporary registrations. Vucic described the move as a "criminal action," and the legislation caused fiery protests among ethnic Serbs, who allegedly set fire to one government office and launched grenades at another.
The decision is just another means for the "repressive" Kosovo state to "squeeze Serbs out of the region," Zakharova blasted, while also saying that the breakaway region has not received "proper condemnation and rebuke" from either Washington or Brussels, which have championed its claims to statehood.
On Saturday, European Council President Charles Michel called for de-escalation and withdrawal of police units and barricades, and NATO forces have since been put on alert. However, foreign capitals have appeared reluctant to openly take sides in the row.
"It's time to put some pressure on the administration in Pristina to compel it to withdraw the security forces from the north of Kosovo and prevent the situation from spiraling into an open conflict," Zakharova concluded.
Serbia ready to flex its military muscle as NATO troops move in at Kosovo border.
RT Sep 29, 2021
The dispute between Serbia and Kosovo over license plates shows no sign of abating as NATO troops have now bolstered their presence on the Serbian border.
Serbia inks deal with breakaway Kosovo region to end spat that featured jet flyovers and tanks at border.
RT.com 30 Sep, 2021 13:54
Chief negotiators for Serbia and Kosovo have formally reached agreement to conclude the latest round of escalation. “We have a deal,” tweeted EU special representative Miroslav Lajcak after two days of “intense negotiations.”
The recent disagreement had seen Kosovo order its police to force any cars attempting to cross the border to remove Serbian license plates, arguing that a 10-year-old deal between the nations had expired. Serbia had responded by sending military planes to fly near the border, while footage from the area showed tanks and military vehicles deployed to the area.
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen had previously urged the two sides to work to “de-escalate” and “return to the negotiation table to find a sustainable solution.” The European bloc has been trying to facilitate talks between Serbia and its breakaway region for the past decade, as Kosovo unilaterally proclaimed independence in 2008.
The deal comes after the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Christian Schmidt, called on the European Union to “convey a clear message that Europe has an interest in a European Balkans” after the bloc warned it can’t guarantee “six countries” (as most of the EU recognize Kosovo’s independence) future membership, as had once been promised.
Speaking ahead of a summit next week, Schmidt urged the EU to work to bolster “closer cooperation” between the bloc and Balkan nations, working on improving economic and infrastructure ties. The countries had all previously been promised they would be ultimately admitted to the EU bloc, with officials promising 18 years ago to give their “unequivocal support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans.”
The High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina is a role that was established in the wake of the Dayton Agreement, signed at the end of the Bosnian War, to oversee the peace process in the region. Schmidt ascended to the role after his predecessor resigned despite some international opposition to his appointment, with Russia arguing he should have been approved by the UN Security Council.
Last Edit: Oct 1, 2021 0:30:21 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
TsarSamuil: Medicines aren't allowed to be sold on the market without a 15 year trial period, to determine short n long term effects. Sputnik just turned 1 year, others not even that, just months, how can we determine long term effects without the data from long term
Aug 24, 2021 11:22:20 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: exposure? Does anyone have a time machine to go 14 years or so into the future n come back n say whether we have good vaccines? Fear makes world abandon its own standards..Besides, vaccines for other illnesses that have been developed for YEARS actually
Aug 24, 2021 11:23:40 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: help. These covid vaccines are literally SHIT, why else do they demand you take 1, 2 n now 3 shots? The problem is also a disease becomes resilient if u administer a weak vaccine that doesn't do the job proper. Allow illness to survive just makes it strong
Aug 24, 2021 11:25:04 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: instead if we go by the book, we should all wait for a really good vaccine to take out the illness for good. Now...we may never get rid of it..but understandably the world economy has a hard time dealing with lock downs, but that is just needless panic
Aug 24, 2021 11:27:06 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: why Swe had fared well with country not being locked down? Because they are cold people, keeping distance was the thing before covid-19 was ever heard of, I hope world doesn't become like that, but some could use a little common sense n change in behavior.
Aug 24, 2021 11:29:12 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: It's no wonder covid hits so many Arabs in the country, stupid bastards..
Aug 24, 2021 11:29:38 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: If I go to H&M a new shirt, if an Arab wants to buy a pair of pants, not only is his whole family along, his friends, even his freaking grandmother is along n all chattering along in a big dumb group of ignorance..
Aug 24, 2021 11:33:05 GMT -5
Boro: Thx for the response. I'm not sure... It seems the vaccines work, at least people aren't dying of Covid. Those who get ill have a problem, it's not "just a flu". Maybe it's from a chinese laboratory, who knows...
Aug 24, 2021 13:46:55 GMT -5
Boro: I agree regarding Arabs..
Aug 24, 2021 13:50:39 GMT -5
Boro: Be glad, Sweden isn't overpopulated.
Aug 24, 2021 14:11:49 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: true, vaccines do help somewhat, maybe better than nothing..I hope in 2022 we can come out of this nightmare..
Aug 24, 2021 15:38:24 GMT -5
Boro: Horrible times, indeed.
Aug 24, 2021 15:47:41 GMT -5