KFOR: The police action in the north of Kosovo was a unilateral decision by the authorities in Pristina

KFOR / Photo: Archive

Colonel Andrea Galieni, spokesperson for KFOR, said that the institutions in Pristina did not coordinate the actions they took in the north of Kosovo and that it was a unilateral operation to force the presidents of the municipalities to occupy the buildings of the local self-government.

At a press conference in Pristina, he stated that he is always in contact with all the actors in the region, with the institutions of Kosovo, the Serbian defense and other parties in the story, and that the events started a few days before May 29, adding that there was no coordination.

"It was a unilateral decision by the Kosovo institutions to forcefully let the mayors into their offices. Later, we organized ourselves to distribute ourselves in these municipalities, as it happened on May 29, and to stand between the two sides," Galiyeni said.

He stressed that it is important for all parties to refrain from reacting because, as this situation has shown, it can escalate to a higher level of violence and it is very important not to take unilateral actions.

KFOR reacted to the situation

Speaking about the steps that KFOR will take in the event of an escalation of the situation, Galieni said that they are currently monitoring the situation and are ready to react. KFOR units are trained to deal with any security situation," the Italian colonel emphasized. He explained that KFOR was only reacting to the situation that arose between the two sides.

"It is not a coordinated action with the Kosovo police. "It's KFOR's reaction to what happened after the police took some actions and after the crowd reacted like that," Galliani said.

Galieni also emphasized that he does not know when the soldiers of the mission will leave the municipalities in the north of Kosovo.

"There is no date because KFOR is not acting according to the plan, but in accordance with the security situation and how the crisis continues. As long as there is a situation of tension that can explode and escalate to the point of violence at any moment. KFOR will be present in the north," Galieni specified.

Unstable situation

He described the current situation in northern Kosovo as "unstable until an agreement is reached between the parties", announcing the presence of KFOR on the ground until an agreement is reached.

Referring to the events of May 29, Galieni said that KFOR took up positions around the municipal building in Zvečan in order to prevent further escalation of the protests, as police units stormed the municipal building a few days earlier.

"After the four mayors tried to forcefully reach their offices in the days before, KFOR was there to prevent further escalation of the protests on May 29. A large protest was held in the municipality of Zvechan. "Trying to stand between the parties, KFOR soldiers are involved in a violent protest," Galliani said.

Injured KFOR soldiers

Galiani said that during the protest, many KFOR soldiers were injured by stones, improvised explosive devices and the use of weapons.

"It was clear that people were trying to protest peacefully, but it was clear that certain criminal groups were hiding behind them, who tried to attack KFOR," Galiani said.

He added that during the protest, many Italian and Hungarian soldiers were injured by the use of pipes, stones and explosive devices, but that none of them were in danger.

The deployment of Turkish soldiers is over

He indicated that he was proud of the behavior of the KFOR soldiers who stood between the two sides and thus prevented further escalation between the Albanians and the Serbs, which would certainly have led to casualties.

"After May 29, NATO decided to reinforce KFOR by sending additional troops. From June 5, additional 500 Turkish soldiers began to be deployed in the contingents in Kosovo. The deployment is complete. "They are being trained and will be ready in a few days to deploy everything in order to support the KFOR troops," Galieni said.



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