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Kosovo PM Accuses Serbian Defense Minister of Gang Ties; Belgrade Denies Allegations
Kosovo's PM alleges Serbian Defense Minister's ties to a criminal gang. Belgrade denies, urging international mediation. Rising tensions challenge Balkan relations.
Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, on Monday accused a criminal gang from northern Serbia, known as the "Novi Sad Clan," of orchestrating a September attack in Kosovo that resulted in the death of a police officer. This violent episode also saw a prolonged confrontation with Kosovo police, ending with three gunmen dead.
Kurti made further startling allegations, suggesting Serbia’s Defense Minister, Milos Vucevic, is the leader of this gang and insinuated ties between Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and the clan. Despite these claims, the Prime Minister did not present any evidence and left details unspecified. He labeled the group as a “paramilitary terrorist organization.”
Reacting swiftly, Belgrade denied the allegations. Serbia’s Defense Ministry vehemently refuted the claims, describing them as "heinous and blatant lies" and urged the global community to intervene against what they termed as an "incendiary and dirty" campaign spearheaded by Kosovo’s leadership.
This latest development comes after renewed tensions on September 24th when approximately 30 heavily armed Serbs took over an Orthodox monastery in northern Kosovo, initiating the conflict. This incident marks one of the most severe clashes since Kosovo's proclamation of independence from Serbia in 2008. Amidst these events, both the European Union and the United States have been working diligently to mediate and conclude prolonged discussions aimed at normalizing relations between the two Balkan countries.
Kurti has suggested on his Facebook page that the EU and the US establish a "special court" dedicated to addressing the Novi Sad gang, given Kosovo's lack of legal reach within Serbia.