"Those who are supposed to protect the local Serb majority from the arbitrariness of Kosovars have ended up siding with Pristina's xenophobic aspirations," Maria Zakharova said.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Tuesday that NATO's Kosovo Force (KFOR) is provoking an escalation of violence against Serbs in the region.
Zakharova said in a statement that "NATO 'peacekeepers' became a source of unnecessary violence and a factor of escalation," referring to recent clashes with Serb protesters in the northern Kosovo municipalities of Zvecan, Zubin Potok and Leposavic.
"Those who are supposed to protect the local Serb majority from the arbitrariness of Kosovars ended up siding with Pristina's xenophobic aspirations and have essentially become accomplices to terror," the spokeswoman said.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic denounced that 52 Serbs were injured (three in serious condition) as a result of the clashes. For its part, KFOR declared that some 30 NATO soldiers were wounded.
According to Zakharova's statement, ensuring stability and security in the region requires "the establishment of a community of Serb municipalities in the region in its original form, enshrined 10 years ago in written agreements between Belgrade and Pristina under the guarantee of Brussels."
�� Maria #Zakharova: We are calling the West to finally silence its false propaganda, to stop blaming the incidents in Kosovo on the desperate Serbs who are peacefully, without weapons in their hands, trying to defend their legitimate rights & freedoms.https://t.co/Q2iF1uSNZa pic.twitter.com/Eqbcp3D92x— MFA Russia ���� (@mfa_russia) May 30, 2023
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has announced the decision to send 700 additional NATO troops to Kosovo, when there are already 4 000 troops in the region. He has also decided to put an additional battalion of reserve forces on high alert so that they can also be deployed in case of need.
The Serbian President has put the army on high combat alert and ordered units to move closer to the border.
The situation in the northern Serb municipalities of Kosovo and Metohija escalated last week after Kosovar police seized administrative buildings in the northern Serb-majority municipalities of Zvecan, Zubin Potok and Leposavic.
The police intended to make it possible for the new mayors of these municipalities to take office after winning local elections in April. Serbs refused to participate in the elections, and ethnic Albanian candidates won the mayorships of four Serb-majority municipalities with a turnout of 3.5%.