- NSC: We will continue to work with EU and NATO partners to help all parties maintain progress in normalizing relations and reducing tensions.
- Richard Grenell: Blinken has ignored the Balkans for too long, and the situation is now dire.
- U.K. MP Andrew Bridgen: This sort of violence targeted against minorities on the eve of elections is straight out of every despots playbook and the West needs to ensure it ceases immediately.
- Ambassador Marko Djuric: KFOR/NATO need to react to prevent further violence.
Wednesday morning, violence against Serbian civilians erupted in Northern Kosovo, which is populated by a Serbian minority. A few days before the local elections, Kosovo special police forces ( ROSU) opened fire on Serbian civilians who were all “unarmed,” according to the Serbian Ambassador to the US Marko Djuric. The dramatic footage of the Serbs in northern Mitrovica running away from tear gas fired off by the Kosovo police flooded national TV networks. According to The Pavlovic Today’s sources on the ground, ten Serbian civilians were injured.
While Albin Kurti and Kosovo officials claim that the violence occurred due to a raid “targeting smugglers of Serbian-origin goods,” Ambassador Djuric told The Pavlovic Today that Kurti is misleading the public and the international community to boost his electoral chances at the ballot box.
“Civilians in Zvecan have been attacked this morning when special forces of the so-called Kosovo police opened fire on unarmed protesters,” said Djuric regarding the worrying situation ahead of the local election in Northern Kosovo.
Talking to The Pavlovic Today, Ambassador Djuric urged the international community to respond to the violence against the Serbian civilians in Kosovo. “KFOR/NATO need to react to prevent further violence,” he said.
“Under the false pretext of responding to contraband allegations, Kosovo special forces, armed with assault rifles, broke into Serbian pharmacies and confiscated medicine,” Djuric added and explained that the latest violence against Serbs is “yet another one of Kurti’s desperate attempts to use force to demonstrate ‘power’ in advance of local elections on Sunday.”
According to the Serbian Ambassador to the U.S., “a three year old baby has been shot at, dozens of peaceful Serb civilians wounded in an action of unparalleled brutality.”
In Washington DC, The White House National Security Council told The Pavlovic Today that the “United States urges calm in response to the events in Kosovo today.”
NSC Spokesperson made an assurance that United States would “continue to work with EU and NATO partners to help all parties maintain progress in normalizing relations and reducing tensions.”
RICHARD GRENELL: Blinken has ignored the Balkans for too long, and the situation is now dire
Richard Grenell, U.S. President Donald Trump’s special envoy for talks between Serbia and Kosovo, was critical of a lack of response from Secretary Blinken.
“Secretary Blinken is once again missing,” Grenell told The Pavlovic Today. “Is he waiting for George Soros to instruct him what to do? Blinken has ignored the Balkans for too long and the situation is now dire.”
Grenell considers what happened on Wednesday morning in Kosovo a clear case of the violation of the Brussels Agreement, an act of political manipulation ahead of Sunday’s local election on behalf of Albin Kurti.
“This is dangerous and reckless,” Grenell was adamant.
Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, Chair of the All Parliamentary Group for Serbia in Westminster, took to Twitter to express his thoughts on escalating violence against Serbian civilians.
“As Chairman of the APPG on Serbia I am paying close attention to this matter,” said Bridgen.
For The Pavlovic Today he added “ this sort of violence targeted against minorities on the eve of elections is straight out of every despots playbook and the West needs to ensure it ceases immediately.”
The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called for an immediate end to the violence. “Unilateral and uncoordinated actions that endanger stability are unacceptable,” Borrell said on Twitter.
At Wednesday’s White House Press Briefing, I asked Jen Psaki to comment on President Biden’s stance on the violence against Serbian civilians in Kosovo. While Psaki did not have the answer on the spot, the White House press shop made sure that the NSC and the President Biden were aware of what was happening.
The State Department Spokesman echoed the White House National Security Council by telling The Pavlovic Today that “The United States urges calm in response to the events in Kosovo today. We will continue to work with EU and NATO partners to help all parties maintain progress in normalizing relations and reducing tensions.”