New regulations for border crossings lead to violent protests by the Serb minority in northern Kosovo. They set up blockades and are said to have shot at Kosovan police officers. The situation is now easing because the introduction of the regulations has been postponed.
Militant Serbs have started removing road barricades erected in northern Kosovo, Serbian state television RTS reported. The barricades were set up on Sunday. By blocking the access roads to two border crossings to Serbia, the Kosovan Serbs had protested against new modalities for border controls in Kosovo.
According to this, people who identify themselves at the border with Serbian identity documents have had to have an additional certificate issued by the Kosovar border police since Monday. Serbian license plates are also no longer recognized. Pristina sees this as a countermeasure to the fact that neighboring Serbia has not recognized Kosovar documents for several years.
Tensions arose on Sunday because of the new border regulations in northern Kosovo, which is predominantly inhabited by Serbs. Militant activists barricaded the roads to Jarinje and Brnjak with heavy construction machinery. Kosovan police officers were shot at. International diplomats got involved on Monday night. Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti then declared that the implementation of the new regulation would be suspended for a month as soon as the militant Serbs removed the street barricades.
Today almost exclusively inhabited by Albanians, Kosovo used to belong to Serbia. In 2008 it declared itself independent. Serbia does not recognize the statehood of Kosovo and claims its territory for itself. The Bundeswehr has also been stationed in Kosovo since 1999 as part of the international mission.
Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht expressed concern about the tense situation on the border. "It's good that the Kosovar government has now reacted calmly and is thus contributing to relaxation," said the SPD politician in Berlin. The NATO mission KFOR is also monitoring the situation closely and is ready to intervene should stability be threatened - as its mandate stipulates. "The Bundeswehr remains engaged in NATO and with KFOR in order to guarantee a secure environment and freedom of movement for all people in Kosovo," Lambrecht said.