Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic both refuted allegations suggesting Belgrade’s involvement in the fatal clashes that occurred in Kosovo over the weekend.
“Everything they said was a lie…They used this in the dirtiest way. When they kill eight policemen, it is an act of liberation, and the Serbs are terrorists and savages,” Vucic said in a program on national broadcaster Radio Television of Serbia (RTS).
Kosovo’s Interior Minister Xhelal Svecla said Wednesday that evidence is mounting that Serbia was involved in “terrorist action” in his country as he posted photos of documents and arms that were seized from a Serbian armed group after a clash between police and gunmen in northern Kosovo left one officer dead and another wounded.
Prime Minister Albin Kurti also claimed that the armed Serbian group was led by Milan Radojcic, the vice president of Serbian List – a minority political party in Kosovo in the northern town of Zvecan.
Vucic responded, saying: “I know Milan Radojcic. I don’t know the others…Now I heard about these people. I saw that they lied that one of the men was (Serbian Security and Information Agency chief Aleksandar) Vulin’s bodyguard. That man was with Vulin 10 years ago.”
In a separate post, Svecla claimed that it was confirmed that one of those killed in the operation was Bojan Mijailovic, Vulin’s bodyguard during his visit to Kosovo in 2013.
Vucic said that Radojcic was not wounded and he is in Serbia waiting to answer authorities’ call in the Kosovo case.
“Milan Radojcic never hid. He was not ashamed of his role. He will certainly respond to the invitation of the competent authorities,” he added.
By pressuring people, Kurti caused all Serbs to be united in the region, said Vucic.
“The situation is boiling…Those people are martyrs and saints for all the people in the north. Kurti united all Serbs. What do they expect next? To be like the convoy from Karabakh? It won’t be,” he added.
Dacic told Vojvodina state TV that Belgrade has nothing to do with the armed group and he does not know who organized it.
”Whoever it is that is organizing them in the fight for the freedom of the Serbs must take the effects into consideration,” he said.
He added that the conflict in the village of Banjska in northern Kosovo is not in Belgrade’s interest.
Clashes broke out in Banjska near the Serbian border when a group of armed Serbs blocked a bridge. A shootout erupted when the group opened fire on police.
Several security forces were dispatched to the region, and the Brnjak border crossing between Kosovo and Serbia was closed.
The area has been the scene of unrest since April, when local ethnic Serbs boycotted elections in northern Kosovo, followed by protests against the election of ethnic Albanian mayors.
Albanians are by far the largest ethnic group in Kosovo, followed by Serbs, with about half living in the north.
Amid the unrest concerning the elections, NATO peacekeepers were deployed, including a group of extra Turkish reinforcements.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and gained recognition from many countries. including Türkiye. But Belgrade has never recognized Kosovo and claims it is still part of Serbia.