Serbia has cut the number of troops deployed near the border with Kosovo in the wake of last week’s deadly clashes, the country’s army chief said.
Serbian army chief of staff Gen Milan Mojsilovic said the number of troops has been reduced from 8,350 to 4,500.
“It means the regular number of troops” in the area, he said. “The operational regime of the units … tasked with securing the administrative line with Kosovo is back to normal.”
The Serbian military presence near the border were enhanced in the wake of a clash that erupted between heavily armed Serb gunmen and Kosovo police in the northern village of Banjska on September 24.
One policeman and three attackers were killed in the hours-long shootout in the former Serbian province.
Also on Monday, Mojsilovic voiced surprise over the “deep concern of some” regarding Serbian troops deployed during what he called a “security crisis”.
He noted that Serbia deployed 14,000 troops near Kosovo during “similar security crises” in December 2022 and May 2023, noting that they were even on the “highest level of alert”, unlike a week ago.
His remarks came as the United States has called on Belgrade to withdraw its troops from the area after detecting what it called an “unprecedented” Serbian military build-up along the border with Kosovo.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. The country’s independence is recognized by some 110 countries, including the United States, Britain and most other Western countries.
However, Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s independence and Belgrade has been encouraging groups of Kosovo Serbs living in the northern region to reject the authority of Pristina. The two sides have held talks at the EU headquarters in Brussels in a bid to normalize relations, but little progress has been achieved.
Watch NBS news on YouTube in Bengali । Subscribe Our YouTube Channel: