White House Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that we are monitoring a large Serbian military buildup along the border with Kosovo.
According to him, the amount of tanks, artillery and mechanized infantry was unparalleled.
– We believe that this is a very destabilizing development, he says.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Friday and urged him to step down immediately and return to the negotiating table.
Vucic denies that the forces are in “the highest levels of combat readiness.”
He told reporters: – We do not have even half the number of soldiers that we had two or three months ago.
Kosovo declared its independence in 2008, but Serbia did not accept secession. In the Serb-dominated northern part of Kosovo, opposition to the central government is strong.
On Sunday, a Kosovo policeman was killed by armed Serbs near the border. A gunfight broke out that lasted several hours after the perpetrators barricaded themselves in a monastery. At least three people were killed in the clashes. Kosovo accuses Belgrade of being behind the attack, which the United States says included 20 vehicles, weapons and military equipment.
– It’s worrying. “It doesn’t seem like a group of guys decided to do this,” Kirby said.
NATO could strengthen
NATO Defense Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement that he had decided to “authorize additional forces to respond to the situation” and continues:
“We will always take all necessary measures to maintain a safe environment and freedom of movement for all people in Kosovo.”
Stoltenberg did not give any numbers, but the British Ministry of Defense announced that it had prepared a battalion consisting of 500 to 650 personnel for the NATO operation in Kosovo.
According to the ministry, the battalion, which is part of the reserve forces in NATO’s operation in Kosovo, recently arrived in the region to conduct pre-planned exercises.
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