Serbia claims to have decreased the number of troops near Kosovo.

Serbia announced that it had withdrawn a portion of its forces from the Kosovo border.

On Monday, General Milan Mojsilovic, the Serbian Army Chief of Staff, stated that the operational state of the units responsible for safeguarding the administrative boundary with Kosovo has returned to its usual condition.

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 when Kosovo police engaged in a shootout with approximately 30 armed Serbs who had taken refuge in a Serbian Orthodox monastery.

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

The clashes have caused concerns about a potential 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 plan to send an extra 600 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 urged Serbia to withdraw its forces from the border.

“I cannot reword”

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 claims that drone images indicate the presence of Serbian assailants undergoing 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 stated that they had received extensive support and strategic assistance from the Serbian government, aiming to “incorporate” the northern region of Kosovo.

On Monday, Milos Vucevic, the Defense Minister of Serbia, dismissed the accusation. According to his ministry, the assailants were ethnic Serbs residing in the area who were frustrated with the persistent mistreatment from the Kosovo government.

According to his lawyer, Milan Radoicic, a politician affiliated with the Serb List political party in Kosovo, has 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 mainly inhabited by ethnic Serbs.

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