NATO deploys additional forces to Kosovo

AFP , Tuesday 30 May 2023

NATO said on Tuesday it was deploying extra forces to Kosovo after clashes in the north of the country in which 30 soldiers from a NATO-led peacekeeping force were injured.

NATO soldiers in Kosovo
NATO soldiers and International military police secure the area near Zvecan, northern Kosovo on May 30, 2023, a day following clashes with Serb protesters demanding the removal of recently elected Albanian mayors. The situation in northern Kosovo remained tense on May 30, 2023, as ethnic Serbs continued to gather in front of a town hall in Zvecan after violent clashes with NATO-led peacekeepers left 30 soldiers injured. AFP


"The deployment of additional NATO forces to Kosovo is a prudent measure to ensure that KFOR (the Kosovo Force) has the capabilities it needs to maintain security in accordance with our UN Security Council mandate," said Admiral Stuart B. Munsch, commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples.

"I want to commend KFOR for taking swift, restrained and professional action to intervene to stop the unrest and to save lives."

"The violence must stop and all sides must stop taking actions to undermine the peace in any and all communities of Kosovo."

NATO said it was deploying the Operational Reserve Forces (ORF) for the Western Balkans, who would be ready to move within seven days.

On top of that, it said, "an additional multinational battalion of reserve forces has been ordered to decrease their readiness-to-deploy status from 14 days to seven days, in order to be ready to reinforce KFOR if necessary".

The European Union's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, earlier urged the leaders of Kosovo and neighbouring Serbia to immediately de-escalate tensions after Monday's violence.

Thirty KFOR soldiers were injured in the clashes with ethnic Serbs protesters, which were sparked by disputed local elections.

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