Kosovo-Serbia tensions soared even higher Monday, with Kosovo now having banned both Serbian goods and the entry of vehicles with Serbian license plates for “security” reasons, with some Balkan news outlets now describing the two states as “one step away from war.”
Radio Free Europe cited a Kosovo government spokesperson who called the border controls and “urgent step” and noted rising escalation risk. Other publications, including the Serbian newspaper, Danas, which called the current head-butting just one step away from war.”
As a reaction to the vehicle ban, truck drivers blocked roads at the Raska-Kosovoska Mitrovica road, with truck drivers allowing passenger cars and buses through the border while blocking trucks with Kosovo license plates, according to the n1info.rs news site. The same news site cited the Kosovo Foreign Ministry as stating that Serbian “passenger cars are not safe at present.”
The decision to halt cars with Serbian license plates and ban Serbian imports came as a reaction to the arrest of three Kosovo police officers who crossed into Serbia, according to Serbian officials and the Ministry of the Interior.
Serbian prosecutors are currently investigating, and meanwhile the Serbian Ministry of the Interior has reportedly doubled down on the border crossing arrest, alleging that the officers crossed into Serbia for reasons related to potential terrorist acts.
Concurrently, both Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti have been summoned to Brussels for de-escalation talks, and assumably, getting both countries back on track with regard to the “normalization” of relations, which de facto means Serbia’s recognition of Kosovo as an independent state.
Mitrovica, Kosovo file photo from 2019 by Allions, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.