Is a new Balkan war looming? Kosovo calls on Serbia to withdraw its troops

Ongoing unrest and brutal clashes put the Kosovar village of Banjska and the entire region in high tension.

Kosovo Urges Serbian Military Withdrawal Amidst Escalating Border Tensions

Kosovo has issued a stern call for Serbia to retract its units from the contentious Kosovo border, underscoring a robust readiness to safeguard its territorial integrity, Reuters conveys. This entreaty emanates against a tapestry of rekindled tensions, propelled by an incident the previous Sunday in which Kosovar police forces encountered approximately 30 heavily armed Serbs. The aggressors assaulted the village of Banjska in Kosovo, subsequently entrenching themselves in a Serbian Orthodox monastery, resulting in the fatalities of three attackers and a law enforcement officer, as reported by Reuters.

The revitalization of discord in the region, characterized by an Albanian majority and a proclamation of independence from Serbia in 2008—following a guerrilla warfare initiative and NATO’s intercession in 1999—, is catalyzing refreshed international trepidation concerning Kosovo’s stability.

Vucic Disinclined Towards Escalation

Despite unambiguous demands from the Kosovar government, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has reaffirmed to the Financial Times his reluctance to dispatch his military forces across the border into Kosovo. He contends that an escalation of conflict could imperil Belgrade’s ambitions of acceding to the European Union.

Moreover, the Kosovo government has emphasized its resoluteness, in synergy with international allies, to shield its territorial sovereignty. This involves deploying air defense systems and heavy artillery, Reuters disclosed.

NATO Amplifies Its Military Presence in Kosovo

NATO, currently maintaining a 4,500-strong force in Kosovo, has proclaimed the authorization of “additional troops” to navigate through the prevailing crisis, as per information relayed by Reuters. The Kosovo government perpetuates continual communication with the U.S. and European Union nations concerning this profound threat emanating from Serbia.

Image:, 2020 Moscow Victory Day Parade 062, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons, (no changes made)

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