Serbian Defense Minister Milos Vucevic said on May 31 that for the first time Serbia was able to see Washington taking concrete steps in the form of sanctions against Kosovo.
The U.S. ambassador to Kosovo, Jeffrey Hovenier, confirmed that Kosovo had been excluded from the Defender Europe ’23 military exercise, and that there should be no meetings between U.S. and Kosovo officials. Vucevic said that the situation in the north of Kosovo posed a serious security risk, because of Pristina’s “unilateral and illegitimate decisions.”
“We are witnessing a direct occupation of Kosovo by the Albanian administration in Pristina. Serbia believes in political dialogue, but the combat readiness of Serbian troops has been raised and Serbia’s red lines defined. Killing or exiling the Serbs in Kosovo would threaten the most vital state interests. In that case, Serbia cannot merely talk any longer, but we are doing everything we can to prevent that,” Vucevic said in an interview with the RTS state broadcaster.
The defense minister also said that when the Kosovo Force (KFOR) and the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), expected to look after security in the north of Kosovo, decided to withdraw “the occupiers and false mayors,” Serbia would be ready for dialogue. Vucevic also said that Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti managed to abuse the KFOR, thus driving the peacekeeping force right into a conflict with Serbs.