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In Kosovo 25 NATO peacekeepers have been injured

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Photo: NATO's peacekeeping Kosovo Force (KFOR) clash with local protesters in Kosovo. Source: Laura Hasani/Reuters
Photo: NATO's peacekeeping Kosovo Force (KFOR) clash with local protesters in Kosovo. Source: Laura Hasani/Reuters

In Zvecan, a city in the partially recognised state of Kosovo, 25 NATO peacekeepers, serving in the KFOR mission, along with over 50 Serbian protesters, sustained injuries during violent clashes. The unrest was instigated by a dispute over local elections that have not been recognised.

Josep Borrell, the European Union's Chief Diplomat, posted a stern condemnation of the violence against NATO peacekeepers and civilians in Kosovo on his Twitter account. "The EU vehemently condemns the shocking acts of violence in Zvecan today," Borrell declared on Monday. He underscored his statement, adding, "Aggressive actions targeted at the NATO peacekeeping mission, journalists, civilians, and the police are categorically unacceptable."

Borrell also urged both the government of Kosovo and the protesters to swiftly and unconditionally deescalate the current situation. "We anticipate that all parties involved will behave responsibly and promptly find a political solution through dialogue," he highlighted.

According to a report from Italian news portal La Stampa, serious confrontations between NATO forces and Serbian demonstrators in Zvecan resulted in injuries to KFOR soldiers, including 14 Italians and roughly twenty Hungarians. They were hit by Molotov cocktails hurled by the protesters.

Italy's Prime Minister, Meloni, issued an immediate statement, expressing his "strongest condemnation of the assault on the KFOR mission, which also involved soldiers from other nations." He stressed the importance of avoiding any further unilateral actions by the Kosovo authorities and called for all parties involved to take immediate steps towards defusing the current tension.

The situation in Zvecan, a town in Kosovo, escalated on Monday, May 29, after members of the local pro-Serbian "Serbian List" party defied orders from peacekeepers to move away from the municipal building, breaching the cordon formed by police and peacekeepers. The peacekeepers responded by deploying flashbang grenades and, according to Serbian media, firearms.

As it stands, approximately 25 NATO peacekeepers and over 50 Serbian protesters are reported to have been injured in the clashes. Among these, one is in critical condition and two others have sustained serious injuries.

Tensions arose in several municipalities in Northern Kosovo last week when police resorted to using tear gas and water cannons to disperse Serbian protesters. This was prompted by the local Serbs' refusal to acknowledge the newly elected Albanian mayors from the April elections, which had been boycotted by the Serbian population.

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