Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said that he has no intention of ordering the army to cross the border with Kosovo, adding that he will withdraw forces from that area because, as he stated, the escalation of the conflict would be counterproductive when it comes to Serbia’s aspirations to become a member of the European Union. Vučić stated that it would not be beneficial for Belgrade and that they would thereby destroy the position that, as he said, they had been building for a year.
“Destroy it in one day? Serbia does not want war,” Vučić said, Serbian media reported.
US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby expressed Washington’s concern on Friday about what he called “a large deployment of Serbian troops along the border with Kosovo,” urging Belgrade to withdraw its forces.
Kirby said the US is “monitoring Serbia’s major military deployment along the border with Kosovo” that has been taking place over the past week, including the build-up of advanced artillery, tanks and mechanized infantry units. Vučić, as reported by the Serbian media, added that Washington’s warnings are disproportionate, because the number of members of the Serbian forces on the ground is decreasing.
The Government of Kosovo announced on Sunday that it demands that Serbia immediately withdraw all military units from the border of Kosovo.
“During yesterday, the military units of the Serbian army deployed their military capacities, as well as those of the gendarmerie through 48 front operational bases, which were deployed across the border crossing with the Republic of Kosovo, a few kilometers inside the territory of Serbia. There are also anti-aircraft systems as well as heavy artillery,” the Kosovo government said in a statement.
It is claimed that the deployment threatens the territorial integrity of Kosovo and the international military presence in the country.
“Many times we drew attention and concern to the existence of these 48 forward military bases and the Serbian gendarmerie, and we emphasized the now confirmed fact that these bases are being used to support a possible aggressive military attack against the Republic of Kosovo,” the statement said.
In an attack by a group of Serbs on September 24, led by the vice-president of the Serbian List, Milan Radoičić, a Kosovo policeman was killed, and then the Kosovo police in what they said was an “anti-terrorist operation” killed four attackers and arrested six others. The others, like Radoičić, fled to Serbia.