In a significant departure from past practice, the United States has strongly criticized the actions of the Kosovo Government and PM Albin Kurti. The Kosovo’s PM has directed violence towards Serbs in the northern part of Kosovo by sending the Kosovo Police to surround the buildings of the Zvecan municipality where tear gas and stun grenades were used to disperse peaceful Serbs.
The US Ambassador Jeff Hovenier in Kosovo expressed condemnation for PM Albin Kurti’s ongoing actions and called for an immediate halt to the violent measures. “The United States condemns the ongoing action by Kosovan authorities to access municipal buildings in the north of Kosovo. Today’s violent measures should be immediately halted,” said Hovenier.
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) also voiced his concerns and revealed that he spoke with Counselor Derek Chollet over the phone about this “troubling development.”
Murphy had met with Kurti in Pristina earlier in the week and stated that Kurti did not mention any plans to access municipal buildings. The congressman expressed his surprise at Kurti’s actions and urged the Kosovo leader to end the provocation immediately.
“I am caught totally by surprise and he should end this provocation immediately,” said Senator Murphy.
The Serbian government made it clear that the Kosovo Security Forces cannot enter the north of Kosovo without prior approval from the KFOR commander, as outlined in the 2013 Brussels Agreement.
In response to the situation, the Serbian President signed an order to raise the combat readiness of the Serbian Armed Forces to the highest level and ordered immediate movement toward the administrative line with Kosovo.
Earlier today, members of the Kosovo Police surrounded the municipalities of Zubin Potok, Zvecan, and Leposavic, resulting in the sounding of sirens. According to the Kosovo Online, Serbs gathered near the municipal buildings in response to the events, visibly disturbed by the developments. KFOR and EULEX members and jeeps were reported to be in the immediate vicinity.
To disperse the assembled Serbs, Kosovo Police deployed tear gas in front of the Zve?an municipality building.
Following the incidents in Zve?an, several citizens who suffered injuries from shock bombs and tear gas were admitted to KBC Kosovska Mitrovica.
The Pavlovic Today has submitted urgent questions to the State Department Spokesperson Matt Miller and will continue to follow up on the story.
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