On May 29, clashes broke out between the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFor) and Serb protesters in North Kosovo, injuring roughly 30 NATO soldiers and 50 Serbs.
Serbia and Kosovo are both located in the Balkans, an area of Europe that includes nations that were formerly a part of the Republic of Yugoslavia. In 2008, Kosovo, a former Serbian region, unilaterally proclaimed its independence. Serbia, meanwhile, rejects Kosovo’s claim to sovereignty.
The present leader of Kosovo and the West are concerned about Serbia’s tight political links to President Vladimir Putin, who has continued to support the Serbian claim, as well as about Serbia’s strong historical and military ties with Moscow.
Kosovo has important historical ramifications for both Serbs and Albanians.
Kosovo is regarded as Serbia’s “heartland,” as it contains significant cultural and religious landmarks for the Serbian Orthodox Christian identity.
For the Serbian national identity, the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, where Serbia surrendered regional dominance to the Ottoman Empire, is emblematic.
Suppression and Autonomy:
In the 20th century, Serbia became the centre of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which included Kosovo as an autonomous province.
Slobodan Milosevic, the leader of Serbia, reduced Kosovo’s autonomy in 1989, sparking demonstrations and instability among the ethnic Albanian people.
Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)
The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which was primarily made up of ethnic Albanians, first appeared in the 1990s and engaged in armed resistance to Serbian forces.
The KLA battled Serbian repression while working to win Kosovo’s independence.
A crackdown by the Serbian military in response led to a major loss of life and a humanitarian crisis.
Intervention by NATO:
In 1999, NATO began a military operation in reaction to the growing violence and atrocities committed by Serbian forces.
NATO launched an air campaign to stop Serbian aggression and defend the populace.
The result of the intervention was the removal of Serbian soldiers from Kosovo and the installation of a UN-run government.
2008 saw the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo from Serbia.
Many nations, including the United States and some members of the European Union, supported this decision.
But Serbia disapproves of Kosovo’s independence and regards it as a natural extension of its own country.
The bulk of the people of Kosovo is ethnic Albanian, although a sizable portion of the population in the northern half of the country is ethnic Serbian.
Serbs in Kosovo, especially those in the north, do not acknowledge the legitimacy of the Kosovo government and continue to have strong ties to Serbia.
As a result, there are difficulties in the political, social, and administrative spheres, and there are conflicts and tensions among the many ethnic groups.
Since 2011, the European Union has been directing a conversation between Serbia and Kosovo.
The dialogue’s objectives are to normalise relations between the parties and settle unresolved concerns.
Some accords, like the 2013 Brussels Agreement, which addressed real-world concerns and sought to enhance cooperation, have been reached.
However, it has been difficult to fully execute these agreements, and development has slowed recently.