Serbian Defense Minister Milo Vucevic said the situation in Kosovo is dire, as Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic warned earlier. He said that Pristina is heading for escalation.
“A few minutes ago, the president ordered the military to raise combat readiness to the highest level. The army has started its activities, what Kurti is doing is leading us to red lines, this is no longer a game, it is threatening the security of all people living in these areas. We will carry out the order of the Commander-in-Chief and do what is expected of the Serbian Army."
“The army is deploying to positions towards the command line at the moment. From this morning everything went wrong. Aleksandar Vucic warned that Kurti will not stop, but will continue with provocative actions. There is a continuous attempt to occupy all the municipalities in the northern part of Kosovo by illegal authorities with the help of their police and all with a mild reaction from KFOR, EULEX and the international community," Minister Vucevic told RTS.
As he added, now is the time for both KFOR and EULEX to prevent violence. "We don't need phrases and announcements, but let's see what you can do to prevent escalation. We don't want escalation, but Kurti leads us to our red lines. We will not allow any new deportation of our citizens," the minister stressed.
He also added that Serbia would find ways to react politically first, but did not rule out other ways. He said the red line for Serbia is for someone to start killing and expelling Serbs, as well as breaking into their apartments. "It should be a red line for the whole world, for all those who keep telling us about human rights," he concluded.
“I tell them not to fall for provocations, a scenario in which they would present themselves as criminals. There is constant terror against the Serbian community. It is important to remain calm and at the same time defend our rights and freedoms," Vucevic said.
It is recalled that Serbs in the municipality of Zvetsan in northern Kosovo clashed with Kosovo police who were trying to help the newly elected Albanian mayor enter his office, blocking Serb access to the administrative building. As a result, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic put the country's army on full combat alert and ordered its units to approach the border with Kosovo, Tanjug news agency reported on Friday.
In a significant departure from previous rhetoric, the United States strongly criticized the actions of the Kosovo government and Prime Minister Albin Kurti. The Prime Minister of Kosovo turned against the Serbs in the north of Kosovo by sending the Kosovo Police to surround the buildings of the municipality of Zvetsan where tear gas and stun grenades were used to disperse the peaceful Serbs.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said: "We strongly condemn the actions of the government of Kosovo that are escalating tension in the north and increasing instability. We call on Prime Minister Albin Kurti to immediately stop these violent measures and refocus on EU-facilitated dialogue."
US Ambassador to Kosovo Jeff Hovenier condemned the continued actions of Prime Minister Albin Kurti and called for an immediate end to the violent measures. “The United States condemns the continued action by the Kosovo authorities to access municipal buildings in northern Kosovo. Today's violent measures must stop immediately," Hovenier said.
Senator Chris Murphy also expressed his concerns and revealed he had spoken to Councilor Derek Cholett over the phone about this "disturbing development". Murphy had met with Kurti in Pristina earlier in the week and said Kurti had not mentioned any plans to access municipal buildings. The MP expressed surprise at Kurti's actions and urged the Kosovo leader to end the provocation immediately.
"I am completely taken aback and this challenge should be stopped immediately," said Senator Murphy.