On orders of President Aleksandar Vucic, Minister of Internal Affairs Bratislav Gasic and Defense Minister Milos Vucevic have placed all units of the country’s police and armed forces at full combat readiness.
“As per the orders of the president of the state and commander-in-chief of the military and armed forces of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, I have instructed all units of the Ministry of Interior Affairs, the Gendarmerie, the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit and the Police Brigade to raise their status to full combat readiness and immediately report to the head of Army Headquarters and take their positions according to the operative plan,” Gasic said in written statement issued in the evening of Dec. 26.
Defense Minister Vucevic explained that, as commander-in-chief, Vucic has ordered the Serbian military to stand at full combat readiness, which allows the necessary application of lethal force. According to his statement for the RTS public service, the army is, thus, poised to “protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia and protect all [its] citizens” and to prevent the “pogrom. . . of Serbs, wherever they may live.”
Defense Ministry State Secretary Nemanja Starovic said on Dec. 27 that putting the country’s police and military on highest alert is not a threat but rather “a warning” and stressed that he fully expects KFOR to protect all the people in Kosovo, especially the minorities, of which the Serbs are most endangered.
Petar Petkovic, the director of the Serbian State Office for Kosovo and Metohija, opined that Vucic’s order is “a response to the direct threat of war” since “Pristina placed Kosovo’s security forces at full combat readiness, preparing those units, rifles and armored vehicles for an attack on the Serbian people in northern Kosovo and Metohija.”