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Kosovo Defense Minister Raises Alarm Over Serbia's Planned Military Drill

19.04.2024 10:57

Serbia to test kamikaze drones on border with Kosovo, says Maqedonci.

Kosovo's Defense Minister Ejup Maqedonci has said he raised an alarm over Serbia's planned military exercise on the Kosovo border on Friday.

Macedonci said on Thursday that the blocking of over 1,500 Kosovar citizens on the border with Serbia was ordered by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to the "Cobra" units.

He raised the alarm based on his claims that "Serbia, with its hegemonic and aggressive approach toward Kosovo, will cause tensions to continue."

"Serbia has camouflaged all its (military) actions so far as defensive preparations and militarization. Tomorrow (Friday), Serbia will test offensive equipment, not defense. .... Although it established 48 bases on the Kosovo border in the south of its own territory, it continued to declare that all this mobilization was to prepare the defense of the region," Maqedonci told the local broadcaster A2 CNN.

"Tomorrow, we will witness Serbia testing its offensive capabilities, including kamikaze unmanned aerial vehicles used not for defensive purposes but for attacking others," he added.

He claimed that the exercise poses a threat to stability and the security of the region.

"I think that the time of the exercise and the equipment and weapon systems used in the exercise pose a threat to stability and security in the Balkans. Serbia will test offensive equipment, not defensive equipment.

Serbia on Friday is set to hold a tactical exercise with combat shooting of the Serbian army, Whirlwind 2024, at the Temporary Training Ground "Pester."

The exercise will be led by President Aleksandar Vucic and the Turkish commander of NATO's peacekeeping mission, KFOR, in Kosovo is also invited by the Serbian army to the "Whirlwind 2024" exercise

Maj. Gen. Ozkan Ulutas has been invited to the Day of Honored Visitors organized on the occasion of the Forces Armed Forces of Serbia.

According to local media, Ulutas will attend the exercise.

"Whirlwind 2024" is an annual exercise conducted by the Serbian Armed Forces.

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti earlier in March raised the alarm with footage he shared on X showing Serbian army movements near the border with Kosovo.

Kurti claimed that the Serbian army is "waiting for the best possible opportunity to invade Kosovo."

He also told the UK daily The Telegraph that Britain should send more troops to Kosovo to protect it from an invasion by Serbia.

NATO's peacekeeping mission in Kosovo is in charge of the country's security.

Turkish troops serving in the mission continue to patrol the border region between Kosovo and Serbia to ensure security.

Very often, photos of their patrolling activity have been shared on KFOR's social media account.

KFOR troops were deployed in Kosovo on June 12, 1999 following a decision by the UN Security Council to ensure security and stability.

The mission has more than 4,500 military personnel from 27 countries, including 21 NATO members and six non-NATO partner countries.

Türkiye has the second-largest contingent in KFOR, contributing at least 780 soldiers.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and was recognized by many countries, including Türkiye. But Belgrade has never recognized Kosovo and claims it is still part of neighboring Serbia. -

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