NATO peacekeeping mission in Kosovo has increased its presence in Jarinje for preventive security reasons.
KFOR said that the reinforcement of troops was made due to the possible presence of criminal groups among the Serbian protesters.
“It is always important that all protest participants avoid violence and express their opinions peacefully, avoiding any disproportionate actions, aggressive attitudes, and behaviors that could be misunderstood and perceived as provocation or unnecessary violence,” KFOR said.
Dozens of right-wing Serbs gathered near the Jarinje border crossing on December 18.
“Wagner” provoked riots
The protest was called by the Serbian branch of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, and it caused tensions. Serbian nationalist songs against Kosovo were heard, as well as calls that “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia.”
There were also curses, insults, and threats against Albanians, as well as curses against the KFOR soldiers who were standing at the border crossing point in Jarinje in Kosovo.
They managed to get past the first group of Serbian police who controlled the crowd, but the second group of Serbian police was not allowed into Kosovo.
There were detentions of protesters and clashes. There was a confrontation between the parties, and one of them was also detained.
The loudest protester on the border with Kosovo
At the forefront of the protest was Damian Knezhevich, linked to the notorious Russian paramilitary group Wagner.
“This is not the first time my brothers from Montenegro and the Republic of Serbia have met. We came to show that we were there and to continue the barricades. We do not accept any agreement signed after Resolution 1244,” Knezevic said.
He also spoke to the Russian state propaganda television “RT.”
“Since the signing of the Brussels agreement, the number of Serbs in Kosovo has decreased to 120 thousand. Each new agreement led to the independence of Kosovo. Irresponsible policies have led us to this situation,” Knezevic said.
Russian flags and banners with pro-Russian slogans were noticed during the action, which is worrying in the context of the Russian-Ukrainian war.
What is happening on the border of Serbia and Kosovo?
A new escalation between Serbia and Kosovo began on December 10. It was caused by the detention of a former Kosovo police officer of Serbian origin, Dejan Pantic. Serbs were outraged by such actions of the Kosovo police.
They built barricades on several roads leading to Serbian cities. At the same time, Kosovo police blocked the border crossing points with Serbia “Jarinje” and “Brnjak.”
Due to the tensions on the roads, KFOR forces and international police began patrolling.