Albanian authorities in Kosovo sparked tensions by banning cars with Serbian licence plates from entering the broken away Serbian autonomous province.
Serbs in Kosovo’s north, where they form a majority, blocked two main roads in protest against the decision by the Albanian breakaway authorities in Pristina to put a ban into force.
In response to Pristina’s unprovoked escalation, the Serbian military has been put in full combat alert, with fighter planes flying close to the Jarinje border crossing where protesters cheered them on.
The car registration office in the town of Zubin Potok was also set ablaze by Serb protesters.
Serbian Defense Minister Nebojša Stefanović said on Thursday that the fact that part of the military is on full alert along the border with Kosovo is not a provocation, something that the breakaway authorities in Pristina believe.
“We want to send a message so that no one can think they can do anything to the Serbian people,” he continued.
“We will not allow new pogroms, there will be no new Storms or similar operations,” Stefanović said with reference to the wide-spread anti-Serb rioting in Kosovo and a military operation at the end of the war in Croatia.
According to him, the military units in the Raska area were ordered to go on combat alert by President Aleksandar Vučić as a deterrent.
“We are trying to ease tensions by talking but we are showing that we won’t keep quiet in the face of provocation,” he said.
The Defence Minister said that the events at the Jarinje and Brnjak crossings are part of an organised campaign and a provocation intended to force the Serbs out of Kosovo.
Kosovo’s illegal independence declaration in 2008 violated international law as it was not in accordance with the principle of territorial integrity and sovereignty of the entirety of Serbia, which is engraved in the UNSC Resolution 1244.