Kosovo PM accuses Belgrade of staging road blocks

NEWS 08.08.202215:27
Albin Kurti
REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti accused the Serbian authorities of organizing the recent road blocks at border crossings with the support of Moscow.

The KoSSev news portal quoted him as telling Italian daily La Repubblica that the road blocks were not a spontaneous protest over his government’s decision to force Kosovo Serbs to replace their Serbian vehicle license plates with Kosovo plates. Serbs in the north of Kosovo blocked at least two border crossings to protest Pristina’s decision to force them to replace their license plates and personal documents.

He said that the government set a two month deadline to replace the license plates and documents. According to Kurti, more than 2,600 new documents were issued at border crossings on the day that the decision was enforced which, he said, is why the road blocks had to be organized by Belgrade with support from Moscow. The people at the road blocks are employees of “illegal structures in the north of Kosovo who are paid by Belgrade”.

Kurti said that prosecutors identified the protesters in videos on social media. “Some of them really are criminals who were blacklisted by the US Treasury Department last year. I mean (Milan) Radoicic and (Zvonko) Veselinovic… The Serbs used the same method in the early 1990s when Yugoslavia fell apart,” he said adding that the Serbian authorities are frustrated by the fact that Kosovo’s economy is advancing.

According to Kurti, Kosovo’s membership in the NATO would help keep the peace in the region. He said that there is a risk of a conflict in Kosovo following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but added that the risk is not very high because of the NATO forces deployed in Kosovo. “We are a democracy with an autocracy on its borders,” he said.