Brussels 29.12.2022 Serbs started dismantling barricades in northern Kosovo on Thursday, December 29, hours after Kosovo reopened its main border crossing with Serbia, easing a surge in tensions that has alarmed world powers.
Serbian authorities also ended a three-day-old state of alert for its troops, Tanjug news agency reported, as the sides showed signs of bowing to pressure from the European Union and the United States to step back from a mounting confrontation.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic thanked Russia for its political support on the Kosovo and Metohija issue amid rising tensions in the region. “I will say thank you to Russia countless times for the support it provides to us,” he said in an interview with Pink ahead of a meeting with the residents of Kosovo and Metohija. “I thank them for their political support. I thank China and I thank India. I am grateful to them all,” the Serbian leader added.
Vucic underlined that Belgrade had to hold talks on deescalating the conflict with Western countries, that is, “with those who are on the side of the unrecognized Kosovo.” “We aren’t in talks with impartial people. They are the people who fail to comply with [United Nations Security Council] Resolution 1244, who bombed this country, destroying it. However, we talk to them because they have their forces in Kosovo and Metohija,” the Serbian president stressed.
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier that Moscow was keeping a close eye on the situation around Kosovo and supported Serbia’s actions on the issue.
Tensions in Kosovo spiraled on December 6, when special forces of this entity, accompanied by patrols from the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), began to seize the premises of election commissions in northern Kosovo and Metohija. The Serbian population spontaneously organized resistance to the Kosovars, who fled across the Ibar River. On December 8, about 350 police officers from Kosovo entered the Serb-populated north of the province in armored vehicles and blocked the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica. On December 10, Kosovo police in Kosovska Mitrovica arrested Dejan Pantic, a former Serb police officer. In response, the Serbian population took to the streets to protest and blocked the roads in several communities.