The situation in northern Kosovo has noticeably worsened and regional dynamics are showing signs of a shift in the balance of power, with Serbia and its President Aleksandar Vucic now appearing increasingly on the defensive in the conflict with Kosovo. According to the “NZZ“ Shootouts and other conflicts appeared to re-inflame the tense relationship between Belgrade and Pristina, with Vucic’s dealings with international media and subsequent events with a Serbian militia particularly notable.
Vucic softens on CNN – but US information not accurate
In an uncharacteristic act of dialogue, Vucic, known for his dramatic performances and often stern tones towards journalists on Serbian broadcasts, was in a “CNN“-Interview with Christiane Amanpour unusually indulgent. He emphasized that he respected the findings of the US intelligence services, but emphasized that in the case of the alleged Serbian army deployment, the information was not accurate. According to his statement, there are only 4,400 men on the “administrative line” with Kosovo and there is no increased preparedness, the situation is simply being monitored. The NZZ reports that Vucic suggested that the NATO-led KFOR force take sole responsibility for security in northern Kosovo in order to give Serbs there a sense of security.
Serbia releases controversial militia leader unexpectedly quickly
Another point that was emphasized in the NZZ’s reporting is the handling of the head of the Serbian militia, Milan Radoicic, who is connected to the death of a Kosovar police officer. Although he was arrested, he was released a day later on conditions, including the requirement that he report regularly to the police. This calls into question Serbia’s handling of internal and external conflicts and militias and could weaken its position in the international community.
Kurti increases pressure: realignment in the EU-led dialogue
In contrast, the NZZ points out that, despite previous delays and blockages in negotiations, the Kosovo government, represented by Prime Minister Albin Kurti, is now trying to pursue a more offensive communication strategy in order to direct the pressure away from itself and onto Vucic. Kurti appears eager to terminate and reformatt the EU-led negotiation process, with a specific focus on the recognition issue, while avoiding internal negotiations, particularly regarding the role of the Serbs in Kosovo.
Amid all these developments, regional actors and their attitudes are also coming into focus, and it remains to be seen how the EU and the US, which have at times treated Serbia and Kosovo differently, will respond to the escalating tensions and evolving dynamics.