Explosions near police stations in Zvečan and North Mitrovica, no injuries reported

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The spokesperson of the Kosovo Police in the north, Veton Elshani confirmed to local media that explosions were heard near the police stations in Zvečan and North Mitrovica during the night.

Elshani stated that it is likely that these were shock grenades and no injuries have been reported. He mentioned that a police vehicle was damaged.

The police spokesperson said that an investigation has been opened, but there are no suspects as of yet.

These developments are occurring at a time when tensions in northern Kosovo, predominantly inhabited by Serbs, are escalating.

Tensions began on May 26th when new Albanian mayors entered municipal buildings assisted by the Kosovo Police, amidst opposition from local Serbs.

Tensions peaked on May 29th when Serbian protesters clashed with members of the NATO mission in Kosovo, KFOR, in Zvečan. Dozens of individuals from both sides were injured in the clashes.

Furthermore, on June 13th, the Kosovo Police conducted an operation in North Mitrovica and arrested Milun Milenković. Minister of Internal Affairs Xhelal Sveçla stated that the arrested individual is suspected to have been one of the organizers of the events in Zvečan on May 29th.

A day after this, three members of the Kosovo Police were arrested by Serbian forces in the northern part of the country, an action that the Government of Kosovo has described as an abduction.

Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić declared a day earlier that no soldiers or police officers from Serbia have crossed the border into Kosovo. He stated that the Serbian police arrested three Kosovo police officers 1.8 kilometers away from the border.

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti dismissed Serbia’s claims that Kosovo police had crossed the border and entered its territory.

Additionally, the Government of Kosovo announced that border controls with Serbia have been tightened. Prime Minister Kurti declared that “our aim is security, and security starts at the borders”.

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell stated Thursday that he will invite representatives from Kosovo and Serbia to Brussel next week for an urgent meeting on crisis management.

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