International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

KFOR commander says situation volatile but calm

February 24, 2023

KFOR Commander Angelo Michele Ristuccia told the KoSSev portal that the situation in Kosovo is volatile but calm and significantly better than in December.

He said that KFOR’s biggest concern is the dangerous vacuum created in the north after Kosovo Serbs withdrew from the institutions. “This vacuum is very dangerous, especially from the security point of view,” said adding that the tension is still too high. Ristuccia called for the return of Serbs to institutions.

According to the general, the authorities in Belgrade and Pristina launched unilateral activities which challenged earlier success. “Pressure comes from the approach used by both parties – Serbia and Kosovo, based on the principle of action-reaction-counteraction, which is very dangerous. Both parties see not a win-win solution, but a zero-sum game solution,” Ristuccia said. He added that each new crisis required more effort by the international community and KFOR, order to create conditions for both sides to come back to the table.

The KFOR commander said the Kosovo Security Forces cannot be deployed in the north without his consent and added that Pristina did not demand his permission to date. Ristuccia said that the special police forces do not need permission to stay in the north. “The Brussels agreement was also signed by Serbia and clearly identified the Kosovo Police as the only authority to deal with law enforcement. Regardless of the type of police – ROSU units, special forces – they must deal with crime, and organized crime groups. There is no constraint or limitations for the Kosovo Police to do that job across Kosovo,” he said.

The KFOR commander denied claims that the police bases built in the north could be turned into military barracks. “We have clear evidence that there are only Kosovo police officers there. It’s clear. These are not military bases,” he said.
KFOR has no evidence to confirm the presence of the Russian military company Wagner in Kosovo, the general said.

Source:  https://n1info.rs/english/news/kfor-commander-says-situation-volatile-but-calm/

isn eth zurichBSAdsNATOCentral and Eastern European Online LibraryEurActiv | European Union Information Website