Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic recently sent warning messages about a possible attack on the north, claiming that the unification of Mitrovica will mean the “banishing of our people from the North Mitrovica.”
“Folks, just so we’re clear if somebody attacks Serbs in the north of Kosovo, we have to defend that with military force. Let’s not defend it with prayers. We must be aware of that,” the Serbian Foreign Minister, Ivica Dacic also warned, while the Minister of Defence, Aleksandar Vulin will lead a military exercise of the Serbian army. Warnings about a ‘Storm’ operation in the North have been presented in the public for more than a year now.
What do Kosovo Serbs have to say?
Nicic: Panic and emigration
The director of the Media Center in Caglavica, Budimir Nicic recalled that this is not the first time that the media, as well as Belgrade’s top officials, have warned about possible attacks on the north of Kosovo and Serbs in general.
„According to writings of certain Belgrade media outlets only in the past year we had or should have had a dozen wars,“ Nicic stated while emphasizing the responsibility of the Serbian President:
“The President of Serbia probably knows more than ordinary citizens do because he has a complete security system at his disposal, but what’s a little strange is that he often informs the public about possible attacks and in some way spreads panic and fear among Serbs both in the north and south of the Ibar, resulting in daily emigrations of Serbs, especially those south of the Ibar.“
I think that no major security incident can occur in KFOR’s presence unless such a thing is part of some kind of agreement between Belgrade and Pristina and the international community all in order to accomplish some political goals
Nikolic: Confusion and fear, but people in Gracanica are silent
The director of CDS, Ivan Nikolic from Gracanica confirmed Nicic’s claims that such announcements, which are “unnecessary,” have a bad influence on Serbs from Kosovo, especially those in the south.
The Serbian community south of the Ibar is “confused and scared” by the current events, Nikolic told KoSSev.
He emphasized that there are no concrete public reactions, except in „closed circles,“ which are anticipating an „abstract“ agreement between Belgrade and Pristina.
„The people in Gracanica think that it is best to keep silent. They are used to someone else thinking and making decisions instead of them. The agreement announced for this year is almost abstract because the opinions are completely different and they are interpreted differently by both sides. The normal expectations are that the agreement will not be reached this year, but given that we are living in abnormal times, I will not be surprised if it happens differently,“ Nikolic concluded.
Tvrdisic: March is always critical, KFOR is being tested
“I am worried. If you look for more than a decade in the past, every March in Kosovo has been critical regarding security,” Radio Kontakt Plus Editor, Zeljko Tvrdisic said.
Tvrdisic expressed his belief that common sense will prevail, but also warned that otherwise „a small spark could cause a fire that will be difficult to control“.
„The international community is being tested, and by that, I mean KFOR – who is obligated and has the mandate to secure a safe environment for everyone,“ he added.
What it is safe to say is that whatever happens in Kosovo in the coming period, it will not be coincidental
Obradovic: Further deterioration to already damaged security
The manager of NGO „Aktiv“, Tijana Obradovic warned that security in Kosovo has been violated and that war claims only serve to aggravate it further.
„Such rhetoric by President Vucic, as well as other officials from Belgrade and Pristina, only further aggravates the current situation in the north of Kosovo, decreasing the already damaged sense of security and safety of citizens and increasing the tension and feeling of uncertainty,“ Obradovic told KoSSev.
She further warned of the bad influence of such rhetoric on the possible agreement between Serbs and Albanians.
„What kind of future can Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija hope for with this way of conducting politics and why we still don’t have a clearly defined plan for Kosovo?“ Obradovic stressed.