By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy Nees
BELGRADE/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Europe faced a potential new war in the Balkans as Serbia’s president threatened to move into neighboring Kosovo if the NATO military alliance failed to “do their job.”
President Aleksandar Vucic, a hardline nationalist, addressed his nation after the collapse of European Union-backed political talks between Serbian and Kosovo leaders.
“We have nowhere to go; we are cornered,” Vucic complained. “We will save our people from persecution and pogroms if NATO does not want to do it.” He also claimed that Kosovo Albanian “gangs” need to be stopped from crossing into northern Kosovo, where most of Kosovo’s Serbs live.
Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo soared anew last month when the Kosovo government led by Prime Minister Albin Kurti declared that Serbian identity documents and vehicle license plates would no longer be valid in Kosovo.
Serbia has had the same measures for Kosovo citizens crossing into Serbia for the past 10 years.
Minority Orthodox Serbs in Kosovo reacted with anger to the proposed changes, putting up roadblocks, sounding air raid sirens, and firing guns into the air and in the direction of Kosovo police officers. No one was injured.
Serbia, along with its allies Russia and China, refused to recognize Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence.
A NATO-led intervention in 1999 ended the war between Serbian forces and ethnic separatists in Kosovo and stopped Belgrade’s bloody crackdown against Kosovo’s majority Albanians, who are mainly Muslims.
There were fears in the West late Sunday that Russia could encourage its ally Serbia into armed intervention in Kosovo, despite the presence of some 4,000 NATO peacekeepers.
Such intervention would further destabilize the Balkans and shift at least some world and NATO attention from Russia’s war in Ukraine.
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