This incident comes as tensions increase between Kosovo and neighboring Serbia, which does not recognize the independence of its former province.
A police officer has been killed and another injured in northern Kosovo as tensions continue to rise in the region.
The incident occurred early Sunday and authorities in the capital Pristina condemned the attack as a “terrorist” act and blamed “organized crime supported by Belgrade officials.”
The two police officers were patrolling near a road reported to be blocked when “the police unit was attacked from different positions with heavy weapons, including grenades,” according to a police statement.
Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti immediately slammed the attack, saying it was “carried out by professionals, masked and equipped with heavy weapons.” We condemn this criminal and terrorist attack,” he wrote on social media.
“Organized crime, with the financial and logistical support of Belgrade officials, is attacking our country,” Kurti added.
President Vjosa Osmani agreed, saying: “This is an attack on Kosovo. These attacks prove, if it were still necessary, the destabilizing power of the criminal gangs, organized by Serbia, which have long destabilized Kosovo and the region.”
She then called on the country’s allies to help support the country “in its efforts to establish peace and order and preserve sovereignty over the entire Republic of Kosovo.”
Serbia, supported in particular by its Russian and Chinese allies, refuses to recognize the independence of its former province.
Kosovo has a population of 1.8 million which, although predominantly of Albanian origin, includes a Serbian community of around 120,000 people.
Since the 1999 conflict which left 13,000 dead, most of them Kosovo Albanians, relations between the two former enemies have continued to deteriorate.
Northern Kosovo, home to a large part of the country’s Serb community, is the scene of recurring unrest.
Tension increased in May after Kosovar authorities chose to appoint Albanian mayors in four Serbian-majority municipalities.
The decision triggered one of the worst episodes of tension in the north of the country in years, with protests, the arrest of three Kosovar police officers by Serbia and a violent riot by Serbian demonstrators that left more than 30 injured. NATO members. peacekeeping forces.
The international community has repeatedly urged both sides to defuse the conflict, stressing that the potential membership of Belgrade and Kosovo in the European Union could be compromised by this renewed violence.
But ten days ago, discussions between Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic broke down after just a few hours.
In a speech last week to the United Nations General Assembly, Vucic accused the West of hypocrisy, arguing that recognition of Kosovo was based on the same arguments Russia used to invade Ukraine.