Six days have passed since the deadly clash between Serbian militants and Kosovo police in the Banjska monastery in northern Kosovo. Belgrade and Pristina are blaming each other, but key questions about the organizers and principals remain unanswered, although Milan Radoicic, vice president of the Serb List party has since claimed responsibility for the attacks. Experienced Serbian analyst Dusan Janjic shed light on this case.
Soon after the fatal exchange of fire, there was an exchange of blame between Belgrade and Pristina, but also a series of questions that we still do not have an answer to. While the Kosovo authorities declared Serbian guerrillas terrorists, a day of mourning was declared in Serbia and Republika Srpska (RS) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), and three days of mourning in Serbian municipalities in Kosovo.
Milan Radoicic took responsibility and denied that Belgrade was involved
According to the claims of the Kosovo authorities and the videos they released as evidence – including those from a police drone that filmed Serbian militants taking refuge in the Banjska monastery from the Kosovo police – these attackers had equipment and an entire arsenal of light and heavy weapons, including explosives, mortars, hand-held rocket launchers, a large number of SUVs and several armored personnel carriers, and they were allegedly led by Milan Radoicic.
Kosovo Minister of the Internal Affairs Dzeljalj Sveclja presented drone footage, where Radoicic can allegedly be seen, as evidence of Belgrade’s involvement since he is a controversial vice-president of the Serb List, the leading party of Kosovo Serbs and the sister party of Serbia’s ruling Serbian Progressive Party. Radoicic, together with his companies, is on the blacklist of the United States (U.S.) and the United Kingdom (UK) due to suspicion of involvement in international crime.
According to Sveclja, “this group came from Serbia, they were trained in Serbia, they were financed and equipped by the Serbian army and its police”, and according to their intelligence agency, Radoicic is recovering from his injuries in the Military Medical Academy in Belgrade. Vucic denied that Radoicic was wounded, but admitted that he was in (central) Serbia, assuring the public that he would be questioned. In the meantime, the Kosovo police searched the building where Radoicic’s apartment and restaurant are located in northern Kosovska Mitrovica and seized two luxury cars.
In the end, Radoicic made a public announcement – admittedly, with a written statement read by his lawyer, so we still don’t know if he is really wounded in a military hospital, as they claim from Pristina. In his statement, Radoicic claims that he “personally carried out all the logistical preparations for the defense of the Serbian people against the occupiers”, but that he “did not inform anyone from the Serbian authorities or local structures about this” nor did he “receive any help from them, because we already had disagreements “. As for the killed Kosovo policeman, his lawyer said that “he died from an explosion that was not intended for him or anyone else”, and not from a bullet, as the first reports stated.
Dusan Janjic: “In the end, these people were tricked like Wagner was when it rebelled against Moscow”.
“New details emerge every day, so maybe it’s better to wait for the next day because Belgrade is slowly opening up about this situation… first it was a day of mourning for the murdered Serbs, and then all of a sudden they are complaining about the Albanian policemen. Then they said that they were unarmed people, and now they say they were armed. Then they said that there was no chance that Radoicic was involved in it, and now – he is involved, he will respond to the authorities,” observes Janjic.
“Everything here is clear, except that we don’t know who shot first. It is clear that this action was intercepted, that it enabled the Kosovo Force (KFOR) and the Kosovo Police to coordinate their activities, it is clear that these people were eventually tricked like Wagner was when it rebelled against Moscow. The handwriting is also clear. But it is not clear what the relationship between Russia and the U.S. is in this game, but it obviously exists,” Janjic believes.
“It is clear that the intention was to cause an incident on that road in order to enter the village of Banjska and the monastery, they had already prepared trenches, infrastructure, and weapons there. They expected the involvement of people who were probably supposed to be politically mobilized by the Serb List and to create something similar to the Republic of Uzice in the time of Comrade Tito (a territory in Serbia that was under the control of the partisans for a short time in 1941) until something else happened. That plan failed,” explains Janjic.
The key question that arises is, however, from whom exactly did they get their orders – from Vucic or from someone else?
“The president never issues such orders. There are always parts of the institutions involved – some from the Security Intelligence Agency (BIA), some from the gendarmerie, it is coordinated by a chief, maybe Vulin, since he likes to be Che Guevara”, he assesses, but rejects the possibility that Vucic did not know about the plan, but that the action was carried out behind his back: “He was relatively informed, but not completely. He pretends to control the situation, but he is not such an idiot. But such an idiot, admittedly, is Vulin.”, N1 reports.