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Kosovo PM Warned About Serbian Military on Border: Is this Preparation for War?

Updated: Apr 23

According to intelligence sources there is a high risk of Russia preparing to initiate an armed uprising in Serbia. This suggests that Russia is planning to inflame conflict in Kosovo. This provocative action could have serious implications for regional stability and NATO security. 

The Serbian military has been mobilising along the Kosovo border, giving credibility to intelligence about the operation's preparations and indicating the seriousness of the situation. Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti reported and provided video of Serbian military special forces movements on Kosovo-Serbia border. He said that these military personnel were seen near the village of Banje in Zubin Potok. "Similar movements have also been registered in the village of Oslare in Bujanovci, near the border with Kosovo", Kurti added.

Following Putin's fifth term re-election and according to intelligence, Nikolai Patrushev, Head of the Security Council, continues to oversee this operation, marking a trust and shift from the norm where Putin himself was directly involved in the planning and approving of such actions. However, this might be used as a ‘smoke and mirrors’ agenda, to hide direct links with Putin. The operation, reportedly coordinated by Nikolai Patrushev, aims to generate a conflict that NATO would struggle to handle effectively.

It is believed that Russia has dispatched a military intelligence team to Belgrade to advise and coordinate with Serbian military forces. This collaboration involves coordination with Serbian President Vučić and the Serbian Intelligence Agency (BIA), and is expected to commence in the Mitrovica region. Serbian special forces are likely to collaborate with local militias and criminals under the influence of Serbian and Russian criminal organisations. This strategy has been partially formulated between 2021 and 2023, during prior incidents in Mitrovica. It is interesting to mention that two months ago a very recent Director of Serbian Intelligence Agency, Aleksandar Vulin was decorated by President Putin with the Order of Friendship and also decorated by the Russian intelligence FSB Director Aleksandar Bortnikov for exceptional professionalism and contribution to the cooperation between Serbian and Russian intelligence services.

This operation is designed to provoke a situation beyond NATO's effective management. Furthermore, it serves as preparation for potential conflict in the Baltic region, particularly in Latvia's Latgale, mirroring tactics developed by Moscow in 2014 - 2015. Latvian security officials investigated a controversial map circulating on social media, which shows Latvia almost split in two. This was clear propaganda from Moscow strategically timed with the developments in Lugansk and Donetsk.

The Kremlin's objective is to stir an armed conflict in Europe before the European Parliament elections and the peak of the US presidential campaign, using the conflict to leverage negotiations and possible concessions in Ukraine. A significant information campaign is anticipated, drawing parallels between this orchestrated conflict and historical European wars, to underline the significance of the situation.

US military aid halt to Ukraine is viewed by the Kremlin as a chance to undermine NATO amidst a controlled clash. The EU's struggle to properly supply military aid to Ukraine has revealed a critical shortfall in weapons and production capabilities, posing a risk of a broader crisis in the event of another European conflict. Including also the possible further disruptions within allies related to military intelligence – the crisis with Russia spying on German army officials.

Russia aims to exploit NATO's decision-making process, particularly through psychological operations that misrepresent statements by leaders like Emmanuel Macron regarding the deployment of national military forces to Ukraine, therefore starting direct conflict with Russia. The Kremlin aspires to maximise casualties among the KFOR forces, aiming for a Kosovo defeat to symbolise a loss of control by NATO, thereby justifying Russian aspiration to re-establish its imperial frontiers.

During her visit to the UN in New York in October 2023, a war-time adviser to Croatian President Tuđman and the former Minister of Justice of Croatia, Dr Vesna Škare Ožbolt discussed with the NATO and UN senior officials about how it is essential for security and peace in Balkans to increase the number of KFOR NATO troops in Kosovo, given her experience and knowledge of the situation developments since the 1990s wars in the Western Balkans.

NATO issued a statement in October 2023 informing of the increasing number of the troops in Kosovo: “More than 130 additional troops from Romania arrived in Kosovo to further reinforce NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR) peacekeeping mission, in addition to two hundred British soldiers deployed earlier this month. The deployment of these additional troops comes after the violent attack on Kosovo Police on 24 September and increased tensions in the region.”

The conflict between Serbia and Kosovo is expected to halt Serbia’s EU membership integration, increasing Belgrade’s dependency on Moscow. Internally, Russia is planning to use propaganda to present NATO as the initiator of the conflict, thereby justifying its actions in Ukraine as preventive measures against a similar fate. This narrative supports Putin's agenda to challenge NATO and the United States, reflecting the broader ideological commitment of Putin's milieu to confront the West. This ideology and grievance could be rooted in a perception of the Soviet Union's dissolution as a Russian national humiliation, while other alliances such as the EU and NATO are striving and expanding. Another humiliation for Putin might be the US turndown of Russia’s intention to join NATO, even if that intention was real. The West and the region itself should increase their attention on this issue and take this information and its warning serious. Hopefully steps are undertaken to prevent another conflict in the Western Balkans and in Europe.

Image: Voice of America

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