Serbia’s armed forces cannot ignore violence perpetrated against Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija and will have to respond if Serbian residents are killed, Serbian Defense Minister Milos Vucevic told the RTS TV channel on Wednesday, TASS reports.
"We are talking about, God forbid, the murders of Serbs, the physical extermination of our people by the Kosovo police, the expulsion of the Serbian people, pogroms, about everything that was happening to us 20 or 30 years ago. These circumstances, indeed, would not be just ‘code red’ but also the moment when Serbia cannot simply negotiate and sit on its hands," he said.
On Tuesday, the chief of the General Staff, General Milan Mojsilovic, inspected the army units deployed at the administrative border of the autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija. The general checked how the deployment of the Serbian military units was proceeding and confirmed that troops were ready, motivated, and fully trained for a rapid and resolute implementation of all assigned missions.
Earlier, the Serbian armed forces were put on high alert due to an escalation in Northern Kosovo and Metohija.
The tense situation in Serbian municipalities in northern Kosovo and Metohija flared up further on May 26 after the Kosovo police seized administrative buildings in the municipalities of Zvecan, Zubin Potok, and Leposavic. The police sought to enable the new mayors of these municipalities to take office after they won elections that had been boycotted by the local Serbian population.
On May 29, KFOR, the NATO-led international security forces in the province, sealed off the administrative buildings where protesters had gathered, after which clashes ensued. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said 52 Serbs sought help in a Kosovska Mitrovica hospital. Three of them had serious injuries, he said. The KFOR mission reported more than 40 injured servicemen among its Italian and Hungarian contingents.