PRISTINA, Kosovo (HPD) — NATO peacekeepers said Monday they were investigating a shooting in a tense region of northern Kosovo and called for calm after Serbia dispatched its army commander to the region in response.
The incident occurred Sunday night in Zubin Potok, a town in northern Kosovo where ethnic Serbs have erected barricades for the past two weeks and tensions have risen between the two former war enemies.
The peacekeeping force, known as KFOR, stated that the incident occurred near one of its patrols and that unknown individuals were involved in it. In a statement, he indicated that no one was injured and “we are working to establish the facts.”
Kosovo remains a highly tense place after the 1998-1999 Balkan war ended after a NATO intervention. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence and Western efforts to resolve the conflict have so far failed.
“It is important for all involved to avoid any rhetoric or action that causes tensions and escalates the situation,” KFOR said in a statement. “We hope that all actors refrain from shows of force and seek the best solutions in order to preserve the safety and well-being of all communities.”
Fears of violence have risen since Russia invaded Ukraine 10 months ago. The United States and most European Union countries recognize Kosovo’s independence, while Serbia has relied on Russia and China to maintain its claim to the province.
Tensions in Kosovo have been rising in recent weeks and months over various issues, despite international attempts at mediation. In the most recent developments, ethnic Serbs in the north have erected barricades to protest the arrest of a former Serb policeman.