18:57 GMT +317 November 2019
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     policeman walks on the Red Square near the St Basil 's Cathedral on May 6, 2016 in Moscow

    Serbian Journalists Arrested in Kosovo Over Russian Souvenir Keychain

    © AFP 2019 / Joel Sagget
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    The incident occurred as Kosovo was preparing for parliamentary elections on 6 October, prompted by the resignation of Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, who had been summoned for questioning by The Hague in connection with war crimes.

    A crew of Serbian RTS broadcasters barely avoided an unexpected arrest in Kosovo as police accused them of working for intelligence services.

    According to the journalists, they were driving to Mitrovica, when another car forced them to stop. Some people in plainclothes approached the crew and started searching them, making them fear that this was an attempt to kidnap them.

    After finding a keychain depicting St. Basil's Cathedral and with the words "Moscow, Russia" inscribed on it, the Kosovars identified themselves as police officers and accused the journalists of being Serbian intelligence agents.

    Kosovo police escort Marko Djuric a Serb official to a police station in Kosovo capital Pristina after he was arrested in northern Kosovo town of Mitrovica on Monday, March 26, 2018
    © AP Photo / Visar Kryeziu
    Kosovo police escort Marko Djuric a Serb official to a police station in Kosovo capital Pristina after he was arrested in northern Kosovo town of Mitrovica on Monday, March 26, 2018

    The police seized their mobile phones and held the journalists in detention for 6 hours.

    The crew tried to explain they had no links with the secret services, but officers seemed uninterested in listening to them. It is unclear what the goal of the law enforcement agents was.

    The Republic of Kosovo is a disputed territory, partially recognised as an independent nation by 102 UN member states. The Albanian-majority territory declared its independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008, while Belgrade claims Kosovo as its territory. Russia, along with China and several other countries, has supported Belgrade by not recognising the Kosovar government.

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    Arrest, detention, Kosovo, Serbia
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