Kosovo: Serbs Revoke Troop Alert, Start Removing Barricades

    Kosovo: Serbs Revoke Troop Alert, Start Removing Barricades
    Last updated Dec 29, 2022
    Image credit: AP [via The Washington Post]


    • Serbian state-run RTS television announced Thursday that the army had revoked the high combat alert on its troops on the border with Kosovo as ethnic Serbs started dismantling roadblocks they had set up in northern Kosovo, defusing weeks of agitation in the Balkans.[1]
    • The apparent easing of tensions comes after ethnic Serbs held talks with Serbia's Pres. Aleksandar Vučić on Wednesday following the decision of a Kosovo judge to release the ethnic Serb ex-police officer, Dejan Pantić, from custody.[2]
    • Pantić's arrest on Dec. 10 for allegedly assaulting a serving police officer triggered protests by Kosovo's Serb minority, who erected barricades that have blocked roads for 19 days, forcing Kosovo police to close the Merdare border crossing on Wednesday.[3]
    • Tensions culminated in a reported shooting incident — with no reported injuries — on Sunday in a town where ethnic Serbs have been manning barricades for the past two weeks. Amid conflicting reports, NATO peacekeepers are still collecting all the facts.[4]
    • Northern Kosovo has been on heightened alert since November when hundreds of ethnic Serb workers in the Kosovo police and judiciary walked off the job in a boycott against the Kosovar PM Albin Kurti's ban on plates issued by the Serbian authorities, with the intention to replace them for Kosovo plates.[5]
    • Kosovo is predominantly populated by ethnic Albanians but has a Serb majority in its northern regions, which Serbia pulled its troops from in 1999 after NATO intervened. Kosovo declared independence in 2008, but Serbia still considers Kosovo to be part of its own territory.[6]


    Establishment-critical narrative

    This conflict has been turned into another proxy war waged by the West over energy. With memories of NATO's bombing of Belgrade in the 1990s still fresh and the US and EU's current backing of Ukraine, it's no wonder Serbia has been looking eastward for both financial and political support. Europe, however, knows it has an economic stranglehold on Serbia, which is why it's pressing the Balkan state so hard to ditch Russia and China and succumb to the progressive green energy plans of Brussels and Berlin.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Russia's war in Ukraine has prompted valid concerns that Moscow's ally Serbia could play the same card against Kosovo, especially given that neither country recognizes Kosovo as a sovereign state and both share aggressive political rhetoric. The main difference between the fate of Kyiv and Pristina lies in the presence of NATO forces in Kosovo, which has so far deterred Belgrade from waging armed conflict and restrained it from disinformation tactics and propaganda.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that Serbia will recognize Kosovo by June 2044, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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