By Talha Ozturk
BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) - The situation in Kosovo is so flammable and tense that one spark is enough to light it, and everything can go in an undesirable direction, Serbia’s defense minister said Wednesday.
Milos Vucevic was speaking to a local television channel, evaluating relations between his country and Kosovo.
''The atmosphere in (the province of) Kosovo and Metohija is so tense that the smallest incident could lead to things going in an undesirable direction, and this is not surprising because Pristina and (Kosovo's Prime Minister Albin) Kurti are constantly making moves aimed at destabilizing and expelling Serbs from Kosovo,” said Vucevic.
He added that Serbia is with the Serbs in Kosovo.
"It is not easy to explain to the Serbs in the north of Kosovo that while being humiliated and disenfranchised, they should remain calm and not fall for provocations. Kurti's biggest goal is to scare away the Serbs there,” said Vucevic.
- Explosions in northern Kosovo
Ahead of early local elections on Dec. 18 in four municipalities in the north of Kosovo, explosions and sirens were heard in some cities in the north Tuesday.
Forces affiliated with the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) had increased their presence on the Iberian Bridge connecting the southern and northern sides of the city of Mitrovica.
Officials of the Kosovo Central Election Commission (KQZ) went to their offices in the north accompanied by local police but were unable to enter.
Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo flared last month when ethnic Serbs in Kosovo withdrew from all central and local institutions to protest the decision to replace car license plates issued by Serbian authorities with those from Kosovo.
Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, with most UN member states including the US, UK, France, Germany and Türkiye recognizing it as a separate autonomous country from its neighbor.
But Serbia continues to insist that Kosovo is its territory.