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    People are evacuated with an armored vehicle near a police checkpoint in Kumanovo, Macedonia, May 9, 2015

    NATO Calls to 'Exercise Restraint' Amid Clashes Near Kosovo Border

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    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that all political and community leaders in Macedonia should do everything possible to avoid further aggravation of the situation in Kumanovo.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — All political and community leaders in Macedonia should do everything possible to avoid further aggravation of the situation in Kumanovo, according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

    As many as eight Macedonian security officers and 14 gunmen were killed in clashes in the northern Macedonian town of Kumanovo near the border with Serbia and Kosovo, media reported Sunday.

    “I urge everyone to exercise restraint and avoid any further escalation, in the interest of the country and the whole region,” Stoltenberg said in a statement issued on Sunday.

    He added that all local leaders should cooperate in order to conduct a transparent investigation into circumstances of the incident.

    According to the Macedonian Interior Ministry, a terrorist group, led by five former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, had been neutralized.

    Amid the fighting in Macedonia, Serbia urgently reinforced its border with Kosovo to preserve security of citizens.

    Kumanovo has already been the centre of fighting in 2001 during the clashes between ethnic Albanian rebels infiltrated from Kosovo and government's forces.

    It comes as Macedonia undergoes a period of a serious political instability.

    At least 40 people, including 38 police officers, have been injured during anti-government protests in the Macedonian capital Skopje on Wednesday.

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    NATO, clashes, Jens Stoltenberg, Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo
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