NATO | Reinforces its presence in Kosovo with 600 British soldiers
Andreas Pogiatzi
Published on 02/10/2023 at 13:26

Around 600 British troops will be deployed to Kosovo to bolster NATO’s presence in the once-Serb province where a deadly attack took place on September 24 amid concerns about a Serbian troop build-up on the border, a spokesman for the military alliance reported on Sunday.

“The United Kingdom will deploy around 200 soldiers from the 1st Battalion of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, who will join another 400 British soldiers already present in Kosovo for training. Reinforcements will follow from other alliance countries,” according to Dylan White, representative of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The 200 British troops, on top of the 400 already deployed for training, come from a reserve force that was made available late last week to KFOR, the NATO force in Kosovo, by the British military because of the resurgence of tension in the region.

The British Ministry of Defence confirmed the said deployment.

KFOR, present since the 1998-1999 war, remains the main institution guaranteeing the security of Kosovo, with 4,500 soldiers from 27 countries.

The decision “follows the violent attack on Kosovo police on September 24 and escalating tensions in the region,” it added, without specifically referring to US statements on Friday about an “unprecedented” deployment of Serbian troops to Kosovo’s border.

NATO called again on Sunday for the restoration of calm and for Belgrade and Pristina to resume talks as soon as possible, which is “the only way to achieve lasting peace”, according to its spokesman.

A Kosovar Albanian policeman was killed Sunday in an ambush in northern Kosovo, where Serbs dominate several communities. An exchange of fire ensued between Kosovar police special forces and a heavily armed Serbian group, with four members of the latter losing their lives.

This is one of the most serious escalations in Kosovo in recent years.

Serbia has always refused to recognize the independence of its former majority-Albanian province, nearly 25 years after a bloody war between Kosovar separatist rebels and Serbian forces ended after a NATO air bombing campaign. The province of Kosovo seceded in 1999, after the NATO intervention, and declared its independence in 2008. It has been recognized by a hundred countries.

Source: ΑPΑ MPA




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