US punishes Kosovo for forcibly putting in Albanian mayors, cancels Nato exercise

Tensions have escalated in northern Kosovo following the compelled installation of ethnic Albanian mayors in majority-Serb areas, resulting in the United States taking measures in opposition to the country. Clashes between police, NATO troops, and Serb protesters in Zvecan resulted in accidents to 30 peacekeepers and 52 demonstrators. In response, NATO plans to deploy a further seven hundred troops to the region.
The crisis began in April when native elections in north Kosovo had been boycotted by ethnic Serbs, resulting in ethnic Albanians taking management of native councils with a turnout of less than 4%. Both the US and the European Union have accused Kosovo of destabilising the scenario and warned against actions that would exacerbate ethnic tensions.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and has been recognised by the US and major EU countries. However, Serbia, backed by Russia, refuses to recognise Kosovo’s independence, as do most ethnic Serbs within the country. While ethnic Albanians make up over 90% of Kosovo’s population, Serbs are the majority in the northern area.
The US ambassador in Pristina, Jeffrey Hovenier, said that the US “foresaw the consequences” of forcibly installing ethnic-Albanian mayors in 4 majority-Serb municipalities. Despite being a powerful ally of Kosovo, the US “strongly advised” Prime Minister Albin Kurti to change his course of action. However, this recommendation was ignored, resulting in Kosovo’s expulsion from collaborating within the NATO train, Defender Europe 23. Hovenier additionally said the US was considering additional measures and currently “has no enthusiasm” to assist Kosovo in gaining wider international recognition or progressing towards EU and NATO membership.
Piece of cake and Kosovan PM Albin Kurti have traded accusations over the violent incidents. Vucic claimed Kurti “alone is responsible” for the disturbances, while Kurti alleged the protesters in Zvecan had been “a bunch of extremists beneath the direction of official Belgrade”.
NATO’s chief, Jens Stoltenberg, referred to as for an finish to the violence and condemned the “unprovoked attacks in opposition to KFOR troops” – NATO’s peacekeeping force in Kosovo. Ethnic Serbs in north Kosovo, nevertheless, criticised KFOR for failing to forestall armed Kosovo police from getting into municipal buildings and eradicating Serbian flags..

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