NATO sends hundreds of more troops to Kosovo as tensions escalate

German KFOR soldiers guard municipal building after yesterday's clashes between ethnic Serbs and troops from the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force, in the town of Zvecan, northern Kosovo, Tuesday, May 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Bojan Slavkovic)

The NATO chief has announced the deployment of an additional 700 troops in Kosovo due to the ongoing tensions.

The alliance will put a battalion from the reserve forces on heightened alert so it can also be deployed if needed, Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference on Tuesday along with Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store.

Stoltenberg condemned the violence, saying that "such attacks are unacceptable and must stop."

He warned that NATO troops "will take all necessary actions to maintain a safe and secure environment for all citizens in Kosovo."

His remarks came after at least 30 NATO soldiers were injured in clashes.

Eleven Italian and 19 Hungarian soldiers with the NATO peacekeeping mission in Kosovo (KFOR) sustained multiple injuries, including fractures and burns from improvised explosive incendiary devices.

Three Hungarian soldiers were also wounded by firearms, but their injuries are not life-threatening, KFOR said on Tuesday.

The injured personnel are currently under observation at a health facility.

Meanwhile, more than 53 civilians were injured from shock bombs and tear gas, according to hospital sources.

Growing tensions

Tensions have gripped Kosovo with protesters and security forces clashing in the northern Serb-dominated municipalities over the election of ethnic Albanian mayors.

Kosovo is a former province of Serbia whose 2008 declaration of independence Belgrade does not recognise.

Ethnic Albanians make up most of the population, but Kosovo has a restive Serb minority in the north of the country bordering Serbia.

The United States and most European Union nations have recognised Kosovo's independence from Serbia while Russia and China have sided with Belgrade.


Source: TRT