The Pentagon said the United States and Kosovo Departments of Defense held bilateral consultations to discuss the priorities for security cooperation and the implementation of the plan for the unrecognized republic’s Security Forces. At the same time, Moscow considers the steps to create a “Kosovar army” supported by Washington and its partners as a serious problem. According to Vasily Nebenzi, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN, “a solid barrier should be set up against such ideas.” He also believes that the lack of reaction from Western states, indulging in the actions of Pristina, leads to an open clash between Kosovo and Belgrade. However, as experts note, the United States and other Western countries will not interfere with the illegal steps of Pristina. At the same time, according to the forecast of political scientists, the Serbian authorities are unlikely to succumb to such pressure.
The US Defense Departments and Kosovo held bilateral consultations at the Pentagon, during which they discussed priorities for security cooperation and the implementation of a ten-year transition plan for the Kosovo Security Forces. This was announced by the official representative of the Pentagon, Lieutenant Colonel Anton Semelroth, whose words are quoted in the statement of the American defense department.
“The parties exchanged information on projects aimed at helping to strengthen the practical capacity and enhance the interoperability of the Kosovo Security Forces,” the statement said.
It is also noted that the Pentagon’s deputy chief for policy, Colin Cole, met with the Minister of Defense of Kosovo, Armen Mehai, to reaffirm the importance of bilateral cooperation in the field of defense.
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“Kol and Mehai discussed issues of regional security, exercises and participation in international operations,” Semelroth said.
Moscow, for its part, considers the Western-backed steps to create a “Kosovar army” a serious problem.
“Such ideas should be put up with a solid barrier, and unacceptable statements on this score should be given a clear qualification,” emphasized Vasily Nebenzya, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN, at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council.
He also believes that the lack of reaction from Western countries, indulging the actions of Pristina, leads to an open clash between Kosovo and Belgrade.
At the same time, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic accused the West of using the unrecognized Kosovo as a transit point for the global drug trade.
“You are violating resolution 1244, shame on you, are you all from the West? They openly lie to me, they lie to all of us, they think that we are morons, that we can be fed stories about the fight against corruption and crime. They are not interested in corruption or crime, because for them Kosovo is a Mecca and Medina for drug trafficking throughout Europe and around the world. The only thing that interests them is that Serbia should not have any access to Kosovo and be weaker, ”he stressed on the air of the Prva channel, quoted by TASS.
“Surge of Serbophobia”
It is worth noting that a new wave of tension in Kosovo began on 20 September. Since that time, Pristina has put obstacles to the movement of transport between the northern regions of the rebellious region, inhabited mainly by Serbs, and the central part of Serbia. According to the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, the situation was provoked by “the irresponsible actions of the Kosovo Albanian authorities.”
“There is a concentration of police forces, special forces, armored vehicles and heavy weapons are being gathered there. Civilians are subjected to violence, some of whom are victims. Several people have been hospitalized, ”Zakharova stressed.
According to her, events are developing according to the scenario “from bad to worse” and, in fact, mean another wave of “squeezing the Serbs out of the edge.”
At the same time, the Russian diplomat drew attention to the inaction of Brussels and Washington in the current situation. She also called on NATO and the EU “to exert vigorous pressure on the administration in Pristina to force it to withdraw the siloviki from the north of Kosovo and prevent the situation from diving into open conflict.”
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The actions of the Kosovo police on October 13 aggravated the situation in Kosovo and Metohija even more: the security forces of the unrecognized republic conducted a special operation in the mostly Serb-populated northern part of the city of Kosovska Mitrovica and broke into a number of retail outlets to check the language of the documentation. Hundreds of Serbs took to the streets, began to gather at the scene of the incident, block the traffic with trucks and fire engines. As a result, the police used tear gas and stun grenades.
The Kosovo security forces carried out a similar action in the town of Zvecan, where the police opened fire on the protesters Serbs. According to Belgrade, dozens of people were injured as a result of the actions of law enforcement officers.
Later that day, the Serbian authorities accused Pristina of provocations in the north of Kosovo and the desire to occupy these territories inhabited by Serbs.
The next day, the Russian Foreign Ministry commented on the incidents. As Maria Zakharova noted, “Kosovar special forces, equipped with heavy weapons and armored vehicles, have again invaded the Serbian-populated areas in the north of Kosovo.”
“Thus, we are dealing with a demonstrative unwillingness of the Kosovars to abandon their aggressive plans aimed at cleaning up the region from non-Albanian residents by creating unbearable living conditions for them,” said an official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
According to Zakharova, this line of Pristina and the indistinct reaction of its external “curators” inevitably “provoke a slide into open confrontation.”
“We strongly condemn the antics of the Kosovo Albanian leaders, who feel impunity and use any pretext to bring about a surge of Serbophobia in local society ahead of the October 17 municipal elections and to ensure the preponderance of incapacitated ultranationalist forces on this wave,” the diplomat said.
She also stated that Russia is demanding that the NATO-led international Force for Kosovo contingent to fulfill its mandate and “appease the unbridled Kosovo Albanian radicals.”
“Under the yoke of the USA and the West”
However, as experts remind, the United States and other countries of the North Atlantic Alliance have historically been the main sponsors and patrons of the project of an independent Kosovo, and therefore will not interfere with Pristina’s actions against the Serbs.
“For this reason, Washington continues to engage with the Kosovo authorities on the defensive line, discussing strengthening the capabilities of the Kosovo Security Forces. It is clear that the rebellious land cannot be completely torn away from Serbia without the direct participation of Western countries, without aggression and war. Therefore, initiatives to strengthen Kosovo’s combat readiness are supported by the United States and NATO countries, “Georgy Engelhardt, a researcher at the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said in an interview with RT.
He also drew attention to the fact that Washington held talks at the Pentagon with the Kosovar authorities just a few days after the provocations of the unrecognized republic in northern Kosovo, which were not condemned by either the United States or other countries of the North Atlantic Alliance, including the EU states.
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“The actions of the Kosovar leadership did not receive any condemnation from the West, since they were carried out within the framework of the policy of gradually extending control of Pristina to the north of Kosovo, to its Serbian part. This approach is tacitly supported by Western countries, ”says Engelhardt.
In turn, Pavel Kandel, a leading researcher at the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that Kosovo, feeling the support of the US and EU states, acts more freely, without looking back at the reaction of the other part of the international community. At the same time, the analyst called the events of October 13 “an electoral spectacle before the elections.”
“The fact is that local elections are to take place in Kosovo in the coming days, and the government of Albin Kurti, which now heads Kosovo, needs to be shown, to put it mildly, that it is fighting to restore Pristina’s power throughout the rebellious region,” the expert explained. …
At the same time, he noted that Kurti himself is a very difficult interlocutor not only for Serbia, but also for the US and the EU.
“He is a very difficult person to come to terms with. For this reason, Washington and Brussels deal with it, one might say, carefully. The West needs to somehow legitimize the operation to separate Kosovo from Serbia, for this reason the United States and a number of other countries continue to insist on the independence of Kosovo and invest in Kosovo’s defense capability, ”Kandel said.
As Engelhardt predicted, Washington and the Western countries under the current conditions can only increase their pressure on Belgrade.
“The United States and Western countries want Serbia to agree to the recognition of Kosovo’s independence. At the same time, the common line of the American side and Brussels, aimed at supporting the Kosovo leadership and the military of the unrecognized republic, will remain and may even be carried out more intensively, ”the expert noted.
However, Serbia is unlikely to succumb to this pressure, since the overwhelming majority of its citizens are strongly negative about the recognition of Kosovo’s independence, Kandel said.
“Despite the fact that the United States and the West as a whole will continue to patronize Kosovo and try to squeeze consent from Vucic to recognize the independence of the province, the Serbian authorities will not agree to this. The bulk of the Serbs are strongly opposed to such a turn of events. A similar position is taken by the Serbian Orthodox Church, the most influential institution in the country, enjoying the greatest confidence of citizens. Given these circumstances, Vucic will not be ready to surrender under the yoke of the United States and the West, ”the analyst concluded.
Source: RT на русском by russian.rt.com.
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