Bayraktar drones will not be used without authorization from KFOR



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Peacekeeping forces led by NATO stated on Monday that the commander of KFOR has primary authority over the airspace above Kosovo. The announcement came a day after the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, announced the purchase of Bayraktar TB-2 drones from Turkey.

“With regard to the use of all categories of drones and corresponding limitations, including Bayraktar TB-2 drones, in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 of 1999, the KFOR commander has primary authority over the airspace above Kosovo,” the peacekeeping forces’ statement said.

Furthermore, it is explained that the upper airspace of Kosovo can only be used for commercial flights, while the lower airspace can be used for specific purposes and with prior authorization from the KFOR commander.

“We expect the institutions in Kosovo to ensure coordination and respect the existing procedures,” the statement said, emphasizing that KFOR continues to support the development of the Kosovo Security Force according to its initial mandate, including civil defense operations such as fire suppression, disposal of explosive devices, search and rescue, and handling hazardous materials. The communication concludes by fully focusing on ensuring a secure environment and freedom of movement for all communities in Kosovo.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Kurti appeared with the commander of the Kosovo Security Force, Bashkim Jashari, and Defense Minister Armend Mehaj, showcasing the drones purchased from Turkey and emphasizing that “Kosovo is now even safer”.

However, the authorities in Kosovo did not disclose the number or price of the Bayraktar drones, which gained notoriety after being used by the Ukrainian army against Russian forces.

Kosovo, which declared its independence 15 years ago, in 2018 approved a law to transform the Kosovo Security Force into an army, in a ten-year process.

The display of the drones occurred during a period when Western efforts to reduce tensions in northern Kosovo have intensified. For nearly two months, Serbian citizens have been opposing the appointment of Albanian mayors in municipal offices resulting from the elections held on April 23, which were boycotted by Serbs.

The Kosovo Government has agreed to reduce the presence of special police forces in the north and support holding new elections in four Serbian-majority municipalities as part of efforts to ease tensions.

During this week, the chief negotiators of Kosovo and Serbia are expected to meet in Brussels to continue discussions on the situation in the north and the implementation of an agreement reached in Brussels and Ohrid for the normalization of relations between the two countries.