05:54 GMT +320 August 2019
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    Kosovo police secure the area near the town of Zubin Potok, Kosovo, May 28, 2019

    Moscow Slams Kosovar Operation, Arrest of Russian National

    © REUTERS / Laura Hasani
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    Kosovo unilaterally proclaimed independence from Serbia in 2008 and is recognised by over 100 UN member states. Belgrade still considers Kosovo to be Serbian territory, while Russia, China and a number of other countries support Serbia by not recognising the independence of Kosovo.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed on Tuesday Kosovar special tasks forces' intrusion into northern Kosovar municipalities inhabited by Serbs and arrests of locals as another Pristina's provocation aimed at pushing out non-Albanian population from the self-proclaimed republic.

    "We consider Kosovo Albanian special task forces' intrusion into Serbs-populated municipalities in the north of the region in the morning of May 28 and detention of 13 local Serbs as another Pristina's provocation, aimed at threatening and pushing out non-Albanian population and gaining control over these municipalities through use of force… Obviously, this defiant behavior of Kosovars is a direct consequence of years-long connivance of the European Union and the United States," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    Moscow considers the detention of a Russian national in Kosovo to be outrageous and demands that the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) provide comprehensive information on his arrest, the statement reads further.

    "The detention was carried out despite the fact that the Russian has a diplomatic immunity of a UN employee. We regard this outrageous act as another manifestation of the provocative policy of the Kosovo Albanian elite," the ministry said.

    Earlier in the day, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic put the country's forces on high alert after reports about shootings by Kosovo forces in the predominantly Serbian area of North Mitrovica.

    "ROSU forces penetrated into the territory of all four Serbian municipalities in the north of Kosovo, arresting members of the Kosovo police and [ethnic] Serbian civilians. There's currently no information on the number of arrested people. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has ordered to put the Serbian army on high alert," Serbia's national broadcaster said Tuesday.

    READ MORE: US Wants Kosovo Army to Be in Control of the Disputed Territory — Analyst

    The Serbian president said that a total of 23 ethnic Serbs and Bosniacs had been arrested. The president further said that Kosovar police had detained a Russian employee of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

    "They have encroached into the north of Serbia and Metohija with 73 cars, most of which are armored… We have information that 23 Serbs were detained… A Russian national was also detained, an UNMIK employee called Mikhail Krasnoschenkov", Vucic said.

    The employee was hospitalised to a medical facility in the Kosovar city of Mitrovica with injuries.

    He added that the Kosovar police were expected to send 65 cars to other municipalities.

    Meanwhile, Kosovo's Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj wrote on Facebook that a police operation was allegedly being "conducted throughout Kosovo, directed at individuals involved in smuggling, organised crime and other criminal offences".

    Kosovo unilaterally proclaimed independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008. The self-proclaimed republic is recognised by over 100 UN member states. Serbia, as well as Russia, China, Israel, Iran, Spain, Greece and a number of other countries have not recognised Kosovar independence.

    In 2011, Serbia, under the pressure of Brussels, started negotiations on the normalisation of relations with Kosovar Albanians with the mediation of the European Union. The dialogue is currently suspended.

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    shooting, police, Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia, Kosovo
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