Earlier today, reports appeared that Serbia has set up at least two roadblocks on its border with Kosovo and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti is blaming Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic,  for increasing border tensions. The reports state that armed Serb civilians have fired at Kosovo police forces who entered ethnic Serb neighborhoods in Kosovo.

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti has appeared on TV to confirm that gunshots were fired by “criminals controlled by Serbia’s govt” in northern Kosovo while urging the population to stay calm saying, ” The hours & days ahead can be challenging. We’re facing the Serbian chauvinism that we know well…Will work day & night for our democratic Republic.”

Ukrainian parliament member Oleksiy Goncharenko Tweeted, “If Serbia invades Kosovo, we should defend the Kosovars. Ukraine is ready to act with our troops on the ground. Serbia is trying to start an aggressive war. Precisely according to Putin’s method. As I said, Serbia is Putin’s Trojan horse in Europe. War anywhere in the world is terrible.”

“Putin’s method” probably refers to recent rhetoric coming out of the Kremlin accusing Kosovo of cracking down on Serbians within its borders and violating their rights.  Russia supposedly acting to free ethnic Russians from Ukrainian oppression was the pretext for its original invasion of Ukraine in 2014 and then again in 2022. This was echoed by Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić in a televised address today, “All I can say is that we will ask for peace and ask for peace, but I will tell you right away: there will be no surrender and Serbia will win. If they try to start persecuting Serbs, bullying Serbs, killing Serbs, Serbia will win!”

The leader of the ruling party in Serbia’s parliament has adopted the language of Russia in its invasion of Ukraine tweeting, Serbia will have no choice but to begin the de-Nazification of the Balkans.”

In Kosovo, NATO forces in the KFOR (International security forces) are reportedly occupying a position at the bridge over the Ibar River in the city of Kosovska Mitrovica, in the northern province of Kosovo. The KFOR is an international peacekeeping force of about 3,600 troops from 28 countries stationed in Kosovo under UN Resolution 1244 signed in 1999. KFOR is under NATO’s Joint Forces Command headquartered in Naples, Italy, and led by US Navy Admiral Stuart B. Munsch.

US Forces are a part of the KFOR and number less than 700 troops and is the largest contingent of troops in the unit. As of March 2022, the US troops assigned to the KFOR Maneuver Battalion were troops from the 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment, the “Mountain Warriors,” of the Kentucky National Guard.  Detachments from the 10th Special Forces Group also operate in Kosovo in an advisory and training role with Kosovo armed forces. The Italian Carabinieri is also reportedly near this bridge, while Albanian troops are moving into the southern part of the city of Kosovska Mitrovica which is less than 10 miles from the border with Serbia. Cafes and restaurants in the north of this city are reportedly closed as air raid sirens are still being heard.  Highways connecting the cities of Rudari, Zvechani, and Zubin Potok in Kokovo are blocked by police and military forces.