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Serbia: Signs of War

The stark future of the Kosovo conflict

The Kosovo conflict has fueled up again. The recent turmoil in the contested region began after plans were announced to ban Serbian license plates and introduce permits for Serbs entering the Kosovo region. Recently, both Kosovo and Serbia came to an agreement to postpone this law on the mutual non-recognition of Serbian and Kosovo ID cards and license plates. It did help to smooth over the acute phase of the conflict, but it didn’t solve the core problems between Serbia and the contested region.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said these were just partial concessions and they don’t mean that Serbia recognises Kosovo as an independent state.

“They got everything. They got the judiciary, health care, police, electricity. Only education remained in the Republic of Serbia's ministry. The communities, the municipalities - local self-government bodies - have given everything away to the Albanians. They are literally functioning as an independent state, although we do not recognise them, like many other countries across the world,” says Damnjan Knežević, leader of the People’s Patrol Movement.

A growing number of people in Belgrade believe that the Serbian leadership has been slow to act. That it is time to solve the Kosovo issue in the same way that Russia returned Crimea; that the region must be brought back home.

“Kosovo is a southern Serbian province currently occupied by NATO forces that are turning it into an artificial, criminalized state,” says Feɗa Dimović, lead singer of Beogradski Sindikat

According to Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko, Russian Ambassador to Serbia, there are three reasons for the conflict escalation: the West is pushing Serbia towards imposing anti-Russian sanctions; Serbia is forced to recognise Kosovo; finally, Serbia is threatened to have its cheap gas supply cut off.