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Serbia President’s Alarming Message of Upcoming Balkan Conflict

Aleksandar Vucic Serbia
“Difficult days are ahead of Serbia,” Vucic said. Credit: NATO

Aleksandar Vucic, the president of Serbia, warned of a potential confrontation on Tuesday by posting a gloomy message on social media about an unidentified threat to his nation.

“Difficult days are ahead of Serbia,” he said in a Facebook post. “At this moment, it is not easy to say what kind of news we have received in the last 48 hours, [but] they directly threaten our vital national interests, both of Serbia and [Republika] Srpska,” he added, referring to the ethnically Serb Republika Srpska.

Vucic says Serbia may fight a difficult challenge

He vaguely alluded to Serbia fighting and winning in a difficult challenge ahead.

“In the coming days, I will introduce the people of Serbia to all the challenges that lie ahead. It will be difficult,” he said. “We will fight. Serbia will win.”

The strange allusion comes months after Serb militants assaulted a town in northern Kosovo, killing four people. The attack, which happened in September of last year, was timed to a “unprecedented” build-up of Serb forces near the Kosovo border, according to the White House at the time.

The episodes had sparked worries that Kosovo, a Balkan nation that proclaimed its independence from Serbia in 2008, and Serbia, which does not recognize it as a separate nation, might like to intensify their confrontation.

Despite Belgrade’s announcement last year that it was withdrawing its forces from the border, Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti recently posted a video on social media that appeared to show Serbian military formations “meters away” from Kosovo’s border.

Kurti declared, “We are keeping a close eye on the situation in case there is any attempt to enter [our] territory.”

Last week, a senior American official warned Serbia against taking any military action.

According to Assistant Secretary Jim O’Brien of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, “President Vucic knows well that any use of force against Kosovo would be unacceptable, would be regarded as putting in danger the NATO troops.”

Serbia considers Kosovo to be part of its territory because it holds deep historical and religious importance for Belgrade. It contains many medieval Serbian Orthodox Christian monasteries and is seen as the cradle of Serbian national identity.

Belgrade considers Kosovo an autonomous province

Kosovo declared independence in 2008, but Serbia rejects this declaration and considers it an autonomous province. While over one hundred countries recognize Kosovo as independent, Serbia does not.

Last week, Vucic alluded to the possibility of Serbia withdrawing from the Council of Europe (CoE) if Kosovo gains membership.

In an interview with Prva TV on March 22nd, Vucic expressed Serbia’s discontent with the prospect of Kosovo’s acceptance into the CoE, hinting at severe consequences for the region’s geopolitical landscape.

“You go with that and then we’ll see if Serbia stays in the Council of Europe or not,” Vucic said in an interview.

The CoE, an intergovernmental organization comprising 47 member states, is tasked with upholding human rights, democracy, and the rule of law across Europe.

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