NATO on Monday condemned an attack on peacekeepers in Kosovo that left around 25 international troops wounded.
Members of the Kosovo Force (KFOR), a NATO-led peacekeeping mission, were injured during clashes with Serb protesters in northern Kosovo.
KFOR said late Monday that after units were deployed to contain violent demonstrations, “several soldiers of the Italian and Hungarian KFOR contingent were the subject of unprovoked attacks and sustained trauma wounds with fractures and burns due to the explosion of incendiary devices.”
Tensions are running high in the region. On Friday, the U.S., France, Italy, Germany, and the U.K. issued a joint statement condemning Kosovo’s decision to force access to municipal buildings in northern Kosovo. The five countries also said they are “concerned by Serbia’s decision to raise the level of readiness of its Armed Forces at the border with Kosovo and call all parties for maximum restraint, avoiding inflammatory rhetoric.”
NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said in a statement Monday that the alliance “strongly condemns the unprovoked attacks against KFOR troops in northern Kosovo.” The spokesperson said the violence must stop “immediately” and called on “all sides to refrain from actions that further inflame tensions, and to engage in dialogue.”
Jeff Hovenier, the American ambassador to Kosovo, tweeted on Monday that “the U.S. strongly condemns the violent actions of protesters” in Zvečan, “including the use of explosives” against KFOR troops. “We reiterate our call for an immediate halt to violence or actions that inflame tensions or promote conflict,” the ambassador said.