A monastery near Kosovo’s border with Serbia became the site of heavy gun battles, resulting in at least four deaths, including three Kosovo Serbs and a police officer. The conflict involved 30 heavily armed men who took control of the monastery and later clashed with Kosovo police. Both the governments of Serbia and Kosovo were quick to blame each other for the violence. This event marks a significant escalation in tensions between Kosovo and Serbia, coming after months of increasing friction and failed peace talks.
- Kosovo’s police, supported by troops from the US and EU, clashed with a group of about 30 heavily armed men who had occupied a monastery near the border with Serbia.
- The violence began early Sunday morning after police encountered a blockade in Banjska village, leading to a series of firefights and the occupation of the monastery by armed men.
- Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti accused Serbia of sponsoring the armed incursion, alleging that the gunmen had military and police backgrounds and were financially supported by Belgrade.
- Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic countered by blaming Prime Minister Kurti for months of “provocations” and held him responsible for the violent incident.
- The situation comes after the collapse of EU-mediated talks aimed at stabilizing the relationship between Kosovo and Serbia, escalating tensions in a region already fraught with ethnic and political divisions.