Kosovo special police operation raises tensions with serbia
A police operation by Kosovo’s special police (ROSU) in Zubin Potok on Tuesday sparked renewed tensions between Kosovo and Serbia
Early on Tuesday morning the Kosovan special police (ROSU) were spotted moving north on the road between Mitrovica and Zubin Potok. When they approached Zubin Potok they found roadblocks that had been set up by locals to attempt to stop ROSU from entering.
The armoured vehicles of the ROSU however simply rammed the trucks placed as roadblocks off the road and continued into Zubin Potok. Once in Zubin Potok the police carried out operations and arrested 19 local police officers and 2 others aswell as 2 members of the UNMIK (United Nations Mission in Kosovo). There was unrest amongst locals which resulted in the ROSU using teargas and sound grenades as riot dispersal means. The operation lasted a few hours before the ROSU withdrew from Zubin Potok. During the operation to arrest the local police officers, a brief gun fight broke out in which 5 police officers were injured. 11 of the policemen arrested and taken into custody were Serbian along with 4 Kosovo Albanians and 4 Bosniaks.
Serbia immediately responded to the operation by ROSU. The Serbian President Vucic chaired a National Security Council meeting on Tuesday morning in response to the raid. President Vucic warned the EU that Serbia would react if the ROSU didn’t withdraw. Russia also responded due to one of the UNMIK employees being a Russian citizen who was injured during the raid. Russia immediately demanded his release and claimed he had diplomatic immunity as part of the UN mission. The Russian citizen, Mikhail Krasnoshchenkov, was quickly released by Kosovan authorities.
The Kosovan Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj, said the operation was directed towards arresting individuals involved in trading contraband and corruption. Serbian President Vucic argued that the raid was an incursion into the majority ethnic Serb region in the North of Kosovo and the operation was intended to cause fear amongst the local population.
On Tuesday afternoon a convoy of Serbian military vehicles reportedly carrying soldiers and equipment was seen heading South on a road between Raška and Beoci, around 7 miles away from the Kosovan border. As seen in the video from Ruptly, the convoy consisted of multiple military transport vehicles, although the exact cargo isn’t known.
Since the convoy was spotted, there has been no other visible military movements from the Serbian military and tensions appear to have since subsided between the two nations.