Serbia claims to have decreased the number of troops in the vicinity of Kosovo.

Serbia announced that it had withdrawn a portion of its forces from the border with Kosovo.

On Monday, General Milan Mojsilovic, the Serbian Army Chief of Staff, stated that the [Serbian army] units responsible for safeguarding the administrative line with Kosovo have returned to their regular operational state.

He stated that the troop count had been decreased from 8,350 to 4,500.

In late September, there was a significant increase in tensions between Belgrade and Pristina. This occurred after Kosovo police engaged in a shootout with approximately 30 armed Serbs who had taken refuge inside a Serbian Orthodox monastery.

In the incident, one Kosovo police officer and three of the assailants lost their lives.

Clashes spark fear of escalation

Mojsilovic was surprised by the level of concern expressed by certain individuals regarding the presence of Serbian forces during the “security crisis.”

The occurrence in Banjska has caused worry among Western nations regarding potential instability in the Balkans.

NATO declared on Sunday its plans to send 600 more soldiers to Kosovo in order to support the existing KFOR peacekeeping force, which currently consists of approximately 4,500 troops.

As ethnic tensions escalate, Kosovo is requesting NATO’s aid.

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On Friday, the United States expressed concern about the Serbian military deployment and requested that the country withdraw its forces from the border.

Peter Stano, the spokesperson for the European Commission in Brussels, expressed deep concern over the military buildup near Kosovo and emphasized the urgent need for it to cease without delay.

On Saturday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Barbock urged Serbia to reduce its troops and added tensions between the two countries must be reduced to maintain peace and security.

Kosovo says drone images show Serbian attackers in training

Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti on Saturday shared drone images on X, formerly Twitter, that allegedly show Serbian paramilitaries training for the Banjska attack.

He mentioned that they had received extensive assistance and coordination from the Serbian government, along with a larger strategy to incorporate the northern region of Kosovo.

On Monday, Milos Vucevic, the Defense Minister of Serbia, denied this accusation. According to his ministry, the individuals responsible for the attack were ethnic Serbs from the local area who were frustrated with ongoing mistreatment from the Kosovo government.

According to his lawyer, Milan Radoicic, a member of the Serb List political party in Kosovo, confessed to orchestrating the assault.

Serbia does not formally acknowledge the independence of Albanian-majority Kosovo, which unilaterally seceeded in 2008.

Over 90% of the population in Kosovo consists of ethnic Albanians, while the northern part of Kosovo is primarily inhabited by ethnic Serbs.

lo/msh (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)