Clashes in Kosovo, 14 Italian soldiers were wounded: 3 serious but not life-threatening

Clashes in Kosovo, 14 Italian soldiers were wounded: 3 serious but not life-threatening

Our compatriots would have suffered burns and fractures. A total of 34 KFOR soldiers, the NATO peacekeeping force present in the area, were injured during clashes with Serb demonstrators in Zvecan, a few kilometers from Pristina. Meloni speaks of an “unacceptable and irresponsible attack”. Tajani and Crocito express solidarity and closeness

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Tensions are rising more and more in northern Kosovo. Dozens of Serbs clashed with KFOR soldiers, NATO’s peacekeeping force, as they tried to seize control of the municipal offices where ethnic Albanian mayors took office last week, with the help of the authority. 34 (not 41 as initially indicated) KFOR soldiers were wounded, including 14 Italians. Three of our compatriots are serious, but not life-threatening: they would have suffered burns and fractures. Other Italian soldiers, all of whom belonged to the 9th L’Aquila Alpine Regiment, were hit by Molotov cocktails or other incendiary devices. Three others had “open fractures”. The same agency reported that the correspondent of the Serbian agency Tanjug was hit in the legs by a deafening bomb (read also: Kosovo, Sky TG24 in Mitrovica: a city divided between Serbs and Albanians).

The clashes took place in the city of Zvekan

The incidents took place in Zvecan, 45 kilometers north of Pristina, where the Serbs first clashed with the Kosovo police. The KFOR soldiers then asked the demonstrators to make way for two vehicles of the Kosovo Police Special Forces. Faced with their refusal, the military used tear gas and stun grenades to protect Kosovo officers in vehicles and disperse protesters, according to local media. The Serbs, numbering about 300, responded by throwing stones and setting a car on fire. Therefore KFOR soldiers used batons, tear gas and deafening grenades on a massive scale. The demonstrators responded again with heavy throwing of stones, bottles and other objects. A private car was set on fire.

Wounded soldiers are assisted by KFOR medical staff

And the Defense General Staff stated, after it was confirmed that the soldiers of the Italian contingent were injured from injuries and burns as a result of the explosion of incendiary devices, that they are currently under observation by the medical personnel of the Kosovo Force, who are checking their conditions. The Chief of the Defense Staff, Giuseppe Cafu Dragone, is following the development of the situation through the Joint Operations Command and expresses his closeness to the wounded soldiers and their families.

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KFOR increased in the morning

According to some qualified sources, the situation is still tense and the most violent parties of the demonstrators are being contained. Meanwhile, the ambassadors of the quintet countries (USA, Germany, France, Great Britain and Italy) in Pristina met again today with the Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti, with a request to prevent the entry of new mayors of Albanian origin into the municipality. Zvecan, Zubin Potok and Leposavik offices. This morning NATO’s Kosovo Force has already reinforced its presence in four municipalities in northern Kosovo, calling on all parties to refrain from actions that could inflame tensions or cause an escalation.


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KFOR is urging Begrad and Pristina to engage in dialogue

The KFOR mission commander, Major General Angelo Michele Restuccia, is in close contact with his main interlocutors, including representatives of Kosovo’s security institutions and organizations, the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, as well as the IOLEX mission and others. representatives of the international community. The International Security Force in Kosovo also urged Belgrade and Pristina to engage in EU-led dialogue to reduce tensions, which is the only path to peace and normalization. “Unprovoked attacks on NATO units are unacceptable and ISFOR will continue to fulfill its mandate impartially,” Restuccia, who follows firsthand the development of the situation in Kosovo, said, expressing his solidarity with the men and women of the mission. . Instead, the Serbian Prime Minister, Ana Brnabić, accused KFOR’s forces of protecting the “usurpers,” i.e. the newly elected mayors of the Northern Three Hundred from Kosovo in April elections that were boycotted by the Serb community. “But we have to protect the peace. Peace is all we have.”


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Meloni: “Unacceptable attack.” Tajani and Crozito: “Solidarity”

The Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, intervened in the clashes, expressing his “strongest condemnation of the attack against the KFOR mission, in which soldiers from other countries participated. What is happening is completely unacceptable and irresponsible.” And the prime minister specified: “We will not tolerate more attacks.” He then added: “It is necessary to avoid further unilateral actions by the Kosovo authorities and for all parties involved to immediately step back, which contributes to the easing of tensions. The commitment of the Italian government to peace and stability of Western forces in the Balkans is maximum and we will continue to work with our allies.” Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani wrote on Twitter: “I want to express our solidarity with the KFOR soldiers who were injured in Kosovo during the clashes between Serb demonstrators and the Kosovo police. Among them are 11 Italians, three of whom are in serious condition but not in danger of life. And Italian soldiers They continue to commit to peace.” Even the Ministry of Defense and Minister Crocito expressed their closeness on social media, wishing a speedy recovery to the Italian, Hungarian and Moldovan KFOR soldiers who were injured in the clashes in Kosovo.”

Pristina, Kosovo - MAY 02: The unfinished Serbian Orthodox Church of Christ the Redeemer is seen behind the National Library of Kosovo on May 2, 2019 in Pristina, Kosovo.  The latest EU-backed summit failed to restart negotiations between the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia on a final solution to Kosovo's sovereignty.  In previous talks, the two countries' heads of state have indicated their openness to a land swap, which could see Serb-majority areas north of the Ibar River being annexed to Serbia.  In the northern city of Mitrovica, the Ibar River divides the city, with Serbs dominating the north and Albanians dominating the south.  In exchange for ceding areas above Ibar, Kosovo would take over the Albanian-majority region in the Presevo Valley in southern Serbia.  Many political leaders in Kosovo and across Europe are staunchly opposed to ethnic partition and land swaps, fearing that changing borders could spark a conflict that killed thousands from 1998 to 1999. During the conflict, Serb forces began a campaign of ethnic cleansing leaving nearly a million Mostly Muslim Kosovo Albanians to leave their homes.  After diplomatic solutions failed, NATO intervened with a 78-day US-led bombing campaign to force the withdrawal of Serbian forces.  After nine years under UN control, Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008. Since the declaration, Kosovo has been recognized by 111 of the 193 UN member states.  Serbia, Russia, China and five EU countries still do not recognize it, leaving the country in limbo.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)


Kosovo celebrates fifteen years of difficult independence from Serbia

NATO: “The attacks on Kfour forces are completely unacceptable”

NATO also strongly condemned the “unprovoked attacks against KFOR soldiers in northern Kosovo, which resulted in many casualties. Such attacks are totally unacceptable. The violence must stop immediately. We ask all parties to refrain from actions that further inflame tensions.” and engage in dialogue.” In the NATO memorandum, “KFOR will take all necessary measures to maintain a safe and secure environment and will continue to act with integrity, in accordance with the mandate given to it by UN Security Council Resolution 1244 of 1999.”

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