According to reports, there have been armed clashes between the two sides on the Serbian-Kosovar border. Air-raid sirens were wailing in Mitrovica, Kosovo. Belgrade warns Kosovo against violence against Serbs.
On Sunday evening, armed clashes reportedly broke out between Serbs and Kosovars on the shared border.
Kosovo, which Serbia considers part of its historic heartland, unilaterally declared independence in 2008 and was quickly recognized as a separate state by the Bush administration and most Western countries. But since then, skirmishes have continued along the border.
In northern #Kosovo, people are blocking roads and building barricades, and air raid sirens have sounded in some cities.
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) July 31, 2022
The situation in Kosovo and Metohija came to a dramatic head Sunday night after Kosovar police closed the checkpoint on the border with Serbia.
As a result, Serbs in northern Kosovo took to the streets and blocked major highways. Police and the Kosovo Force (KFOR), a NATO-led international peacekeeping force in Kosovo, were drawn to the bridge over the Ibar River that connects the northern and southern parts of Kosovska Mitrovica, according to the TASS news agency.
International reports said, “Kosovo police announced Sunday evening that they had closed the Bernjak and Jarinje border crossings to traffic because roadblocks had been set up on those roads. The roadblocks were reportedly erected by local Serbs.” Rumors of gun battles between the two sides followed, and air raid sirens were sounded in Mitrovica, Kosovo.
— Thomas van Linge (@ThomasVLinge) July 31, 2022
Meanwhile, the Serbian president, Aleksandar Vucic, had appealed on television to remain peaceful. However, he warned Kosovars against carrying out ethnic cleansing against Serbs. “All I can say is that we will ask for peace, and we will ask for peace, but I tell you right now: there will be no surrender, and Serbia will win if they try to persecute Serbs, harass Serbs, kill Serbs, Serbia will win!” said Vucic.
#Serbia/n President @avucic on the situation w/ #Kosovo: All I can say is that we will ask for peace and ask for peace, but I will tell you right away: there'll be no surrender & Serbia will win.If they try to start persecuting Serbs, bullying Serbs,killing Serbs,Serbia will win! pic.twitter.com/hcSAiw429I
— Maxim A. Suchkov (@m_suchkov) July 31, 2022
This shows that the situation is very heated, and Belgrade is showing readiness to take up arms for the Serb minority in Kosovo as well.
▪️"Kosovan Serbs won't allow persecution anymore."
▪️"If someone in #Kosovo attempts to harm Serbs, it will have a high price."
▪️"Kosovo plans to attack the north of Serbia at midnight." pic.twitter.com/jEXn8UEgz0
— EHA News (@eha_news) July 31, 2022
Meanwhile, the Serbian Defense Ministry tried to appease, stressing that Serbian soldiers had not set foot on Kosovar territory after allegations to that effect appeared on the Internet.
Throughout Northern Kosovo, alarm bells have been ringing continuously in churches and monasteries for half an hour. What this means is not yet clear. It was the same in 1999. pic.twitter.com/X5sojoK2qf
— AZ 🛰🌏🌍🌎 (@AZmilitary1) July 31, 2022
Nevertheless, additional security forces were ordered to the border, according to reports:
CNN: There are unofficial reports of transfers of Serbian planes to airports and fields near Kosovo's border.
— 301🇦🇲 (@301arm) July 31, 2022
Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko, on the other hand, argued that Ukraine should send troops to Kosovo itself (despite the ongoing war at home). He tweeted, “If Serbia invades #Kosovo, we should defend Kosovars. Ukraine is ready to deal with our troops on the ground. Russia is trying to start an aggressive war. Exactly according to Putin’s method. As I said before, #Serbia is Putin’s Trojan horse in Europe. War is terrible anywhere in the world.”
If Serbia invades #Kosovo, we should defend the Kosovars. 🇺🇦 is ready to act with our troops on the ground. 🇷🇸 is trying to start an aggressive war. Precisely according to Putin's method. As I said, #Serbia is Putin's Trojan horse in Europe. War anywhere in the world is terrible.
— Oleksiy Goncharenko (@GoncharenkoUa) July 31, 2022
But there are also voices calling for sanity and not to take Belgrade’s saber-rattling too seriously:
Im #Kosovo sind knapp 4000 Truppen aus 28 Staaten stationiert – die meisten aus Nato-Staaten, viele aus den USA. #Serbien marschiert da nicht einfach ein. Und am besten entfolgt ihr gleich allen "Experten" die das behaupten.
— Krsto Lazarević (@Krstorevic) July 31, 2022
However, one should also consider the possibility that the newly flared tensions on the Serbian-Kosovar border also fit into the CIA’s playbook. After all, Serbia is considered Russia-friendly, and flaring border skirmishes could help further destroy Belgrade’s reputation in the West. After all, in the West’s opinion, anyone who sides with Moscow should also suffer the corresponding consequences.