02:28 GMT26 October 2020
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    Belgrade has voiced condemnation over Kosovo police conducting searches in Red Cross offices and detaining several employees.

    BELGRADE (Sputnik) — Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic condemned Thursday the overnight searches performed in International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) offices in the self-proclaimed republic of Kosovo.

    "Look what we have come to, if even the Red Cross is considered an enemy. This is continuing pressure upon the Serbian people… Belgrade has to be ready, and they [the Red Cross] have lawyers that will fight for and support the citizens," the minister told the local RTS TV channel.

    The statement comes as Kosovo police searched the premises of the Red Cross' Serbian branch on Wednesday night. Four ICRC employees were detained during the searches, but later released after questioning.

    The Belgrade-Pristina tensions are rooted in the 1998-1999 Kosovo War between the ethnically Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the forces of Yugoslavia, consisting of modern-day Serbia and Montenegro, which ended following UN-backed international intervention after NATO had bombed Yugoslavia's troops.

    In 2008, Kosovar Albanian groups in Pristina unilaterally proclaimed independence from Serbia. Over 100 UN member states officially recognizing Kosovo's independence, but Serbia, as well as Russia, China, Israel and several other countries, have refused to do the same.

    About 120,000 Serbs in Kosovo live in the north of the region and several enclaves toward the south.


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