2nd October 2023 – (Pristina) Approximately 600 British soldiers are set to be deployed in Kosovo to strengthen NATO’s presence in the former Serbian province, which witnessed armed clashes last week, according to an announcement made by the alliance on Sunday (Oct 1).
The soldiers are part of a reserve force that was made available to the Kosovo Force (KFOR), the NATO mission in Kosovo, in response to the situation and the escalating tensions in the region.
Dylan White, spokesperson for NATO, stated, “The UK is deploying around 200 soldiers from the 1st Battalion of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment to join a 400-strong UK contingent already exercising in Kosovo, and further reinforcements will follow from other Allies.”
The decision to deploy additional troops comes in the wake of a violent attack on the Kosovo Police on September 24 and the subsequent rise in tensions in the region. While not explicitly referring to the statement issued by Washington on Friday, which warned of a Serbian military build-up on Kosovo’s border, White acknowledged the increased tensions.
NATO reiterated its call for calm on Sunday and urged Belgrade and Pristina to resume dialogue as soon as possible, emphasizing that it is the only way to achieve lasting peace, according to White.
Last Sunday, a Kosovo police officer was killed in an ambush in the predominantly Serbian towns in the northern part of Kosovo. This incident led to a shootout between the Kosovo police special forces and heavily armed Serbs, marking one of the most serious escalations in recent years.
Serbia continues to refuse recognition of Kosovo’s independence, even though the former southern province has an Albanian majority. The refusal stems from a deadly war that occurred a decade ago between Kosovo independence guerrillas and Serbian forces, which ended after a NATO bombing campaign.
The deployment of British troops aims to reinforce stability and security in Kosovo and support the ongoing efforts to maintain peace in the region. It also underscores NATO’s commitment to upholding its mission and safeguarding the stability of Kosovo.
As tensions remain high, the international community, including NATO and other allies, will continue to closely monitor the situation and work towards a peaceful resolution through dialogue and diplomatic channels.