English Section

Poles urged to use caution as tensions rise at Serbia-Kosovo border

01.08.2022 14:15
A Polish deputy foreign minister has called on Polish citizens staying near the border between Serbia and Kosovo to exercise caution amid growing tensions in the area. 
Trucks are seen blocking a road near the Jarinje border crossing in Mitrovica, Kosovo, on Monday, August 1, 2022.
Trucks are seen blocking a road near the Jarinje border crossing in Mitrovica, Kosovo, on Monday, August 1, 2022.PAP/Abaca/Erkin Keci

Paweł Jabłoński made the plea in a television interview on Monday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Jabłoński told private broadcaster Polsat News: ”The situation is fairly tense. Generally speaking, it’s due to various misunderstandings between the administrations in Kosovo and Serbia.” 

He added: “Today we advise everyone who might be staying in this region to use special, extraordinary caution.”

Tensions at Serbia-Kosovo border

Kosovo has closed two border crossings with Serbia after Serbs living in the north of the country blockaded roads and fired at policemen in protest at having to switch to Kosovo licence plates, according to news outlets. 

After consultations with the US and European Union ambassadors, the government in Pristina said it would postpone until September 1 a decision giving local Serbs 60 days to switch to Kosovo licence plates, the Reuters news agency reported.

The decree would also require extra documents to be issued at the border to Serbian citizens, including those who live in Kosovo without local documents. 

However, on Monday morning, as trucks and heavy machinery continued to blockade roads leading to the Brnjak and Jarinje border crossings in northern Kosovo, the authorities began issuing the documents at the biggest border crossing, Merdare.

Kosovo’s Interior Minister Xhelal Svecla said: “This decision will continue to be implemented until all the barricades are removed and the freedom of movement for people and goods is ensured."

Meanwhile, NATO-led mission KFOR helicopters flew over the north of Kosovo, a region majority-populated by Serbs and linked directly with Serbia. 

The border crossings in Brnjak and Jarinje remained closed.

'Russia has a great influence over Serbia': Polish deputy FM

Poland’s Jabłoński stated that the foreign ministry in Warsaw was watching developments at the Serbia-Kosovo border. 

He cautioned that the situation “may develop in various ways,” warning that “Russia is trying to destabilise the entire continent, not just Ukraine, not just Moldova … It is very active in the Balkans.”

"Unfortunately, Russia has a great influence over Serbia," Jabłoński said. 


Source: PAP, Reuters, bbc.com