14 years after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, air-rad sirens were heard near the Kosovo/Serbia borders. The Kosovan Government has restricted border crossings. As the chaos grows, here is what you need to know about it.
Back in the 20th Century, after the independence of places such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro, the southern Serbian region of Kosovo was one of the few places which still remained a part of Serbia. In 1998, the Kosovo Liberation Army started a war of independence and fought with Milosevic’s Serbian forces until 1999.
The war ended in June 1999 with the intervention of the United Nations Security Council. The Council established a NATO peacekeeping force. Yet, as time passed by, Kosovo’s desire for full independence grew. The United Nations, the European Union, and the United States collaborated with Kosovo on an independence plan.
On February 17, 2008, the Kosovo Assembly unanimously (109 members present) voted to declare independence from Serbia. Serbia immediately objected to this, stating that this was illegal. The Serbian Government indicated that Russia supported Serbia on this issue.
However, within four days of Kosovo’s declaration of independence, fifteen countries (including the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Australia) recognized the independence of Kosovo. By mid-2009, 63 countries around the world, including 22 of the 27 members of the European Union, had recognized Kosovo as independent. It is now recognized by more than 100 countries.
Yet, Serbia still does not recognize Kosovo as an independent country. Some Serbs living in Kosovo’s north refuse to recognize institutions under the capital Pristina and use license plates and documents issued by the Serbian authorities.
Lately, Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, was getting ready to put a new law into action which immediately grabbed all the attention. This law required Serbs living in Kosovo to have Kosovan license plates and extra documentation in order to cross the border. It would also have required all Serbian citizens to obtain an extra document at the border granting them permission to enter Kosovo.
The ethnic Serbs living in the north of Kosovo protested this law by blocking border crossings into Serbia with trucks. As a response, Kosovan police set up blockades nearby. Some reported that there were shots fired in the direction of Kosovan police units(1). “We call on all citizens to use other border crossings,” the police said on their Facebook page.
Soon, Kosovan police also reported that there was gunfire opened against them and added that there were also angry protesters who have beaten up Albanians. As a consequence, chaos campaigns against Serbia started to appeal on social media.
Serbian Army refuted all the allegations against them adding that the Serbian Army did not “in any way entered the territory of Kosovo.”
The tension running high made the Kosovo Government delay the implementation of planned rules for 30 days.
With the war in Ukraine and the surrounding politics, Kosovo’s border closing did not go unnoticed by Moscow. Russia called on Kosovo, the U.S., and the EU to halt all ‘provocations,’ and respect the Serbs in Kosovo.
(3)Rosenberg, Matt. "Kosovo Independence." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/kosovo-independence-overview-1435550.