Earlier, one policeman was killed and another injured in a clash between a police patrol unit and a group of armed ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo. MORE: Kosovo policeman killed, another injured in shootout
Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said organized crime groups with political, financial and logistical support from Belgrade were behind Sunday’s attack.
“A group of Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija placed two trucks as a barricade in Banja, after which the Kosovo police came and tried to remove the barricade. A clash broke out and one policeman was killed and another injured,” Vucic said. According to him, the international community has given “carte blanche to kill Kosovo Serbs” after the killing of an ethnic Albanian police officer.
“They (Kosovo police) approach them (the attackers) with snipers, chase them and kill them, which they (the international community) have never allowed in such a way elsewhere,” the Serbian president said. He accused Kurti of trying to draw Serbia into a conflict with NATO.
“I call on our people to remain peaceful and calm, let’s do everything possible to prevent further bloodshed,” Vucic said.
According to Vucic, the Kosovo policeman was killed because NATO forces did not intervene. He stated that the best solution would be the deployment of international forces in the northern part of Kosovo.
MORE: Tensions rise: Police in shootout with at least 30 gunmen in northern Kosovo
“Someone did this on purpose… in an hour and 20 minutes they brought together 460 members of the special forces and everything was deliberately prepared. All this suited only the (ethnic) Albanians and those who supported them. I’m afraid this is not an epilogue and I’m afraid it will get worse,” the Serbian president said.
Vucic also condemned the killing of the Kosovo policeman and said three ethnic Serbs had died in the clashes and that one more was likely to die.
Earlier, police said in a statement that a group of armed Serbs had blocked a bridge leading to the village of Banska, located near the town of Mitrovica, with two trucks without license plates.
A shootout broke out after the group opened fire on police officers who went to the spot to investigate the matter.
A large number of security forces were sent to the region and the Brnjak border crossing between Kosovo and Serbia was closed.
Serbia and Kosovo have been at loggerheads since Belgrade saw the neighboring country as its territory and blocked its efforts to join international organizations and gain recognition from other countries.
The leaders of the two countries met for EU-brokered talks in Brussels to normalize relations. So far, however, the parties have found it difficult to implement the agreements reached.
MORE: Albanian PM: Tensions in Kosovo could escalate into armed conflict