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.
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.