The roadblocks erected by Kosovo Serbs on the roads leading to the Yarenje and Brinjak border crossings between Kosovo and Serbia in the northern region of the country were not removed on December 10 despite all warnings.
The main Mitrovica-Leposavic road in the village of Rudari, near Zvecan municipality, which was surrounded by local Serbs, has not been opened, despite appeals from the Kosovo authorities and the international community.
In front of the barriers placed behind trucks and buses, there is a lane indicating that the road is closed.
The barricades are guarded by local Serb groups. Kosovo Serbs stand guard overnight in tents behind trucks crossing the road.
NATO Kosovo Peacekeeping Force patrol vehicles are located near the checkpoints in the area where there is no Kosovo Police.
Kosovo’s Interior Minister Çelal Svechla said in a statement that since Saturday, vehicle barriers have been erected on six major roads in Zvecan, Leposavic and Zubin Potok in the north of the country.
The Kosovo Police have temporarily closed the Yarenje and Brinjak border crossings between Kosovo and Serbia due to barricades.
It remains quiet on the bridge over the Ibri River, which divides the Serb-dominated north of Mitrovica and the Albanian-dominated south.
While two EULEX vehicles and a Kosovo Police vehicle carry out patrol duties, two non-military KFOR vehicles are on the bridge.
In northern Mitrovica, very few people are noticed on the roads.
Primary and secondary education has been suspended in four municipalities in northern Kosovo.
Barrier crisis between Kosovo and Serbia
During preparations for early local elections in 4 Serb-majority municipalities in northern Kosovo, a masked group attacked the offices of the Central Election Commission and Kosovo police officers last week.
Kosovar Serbs set up barricades in the north of the country on Saturday, December 10, after Kosovo police detained Dejan Pantik, a former Serbian police officer they considered a suspect in the attacks.
The EULEX patrol team was attacked with stun grenades near barricades set up by local Serbs in the Rudari district of Zvecan municipality in northern Kosovo. The European Union, NATO, the United States and the United Kingdom have called for a reduction in tensions in northern Kosovo.
In a statement following these events, the President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, announced the postponement of early local elections, which were scheduled to take place in 4 municipalities in the north of the country, to April 2023 due to insecurity during voting.
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