Serbian Defense Minister: Redeployment of army forces rather than complete withdrawal

The Minister of Defense of Serbia, Miloš Vučević

Oct 5, 2023. Posted by  Balkan Periscope - Hellas


Serbian Defense Minister Miloš Vučević made a statement on October 4 regarding the reduction of troops “along the administrative line” with Kosovo, which has decreased from 8,350 to less than 4,500. Vučević emphasized that this reduction signifies a “redeployment of forces” rather than a complete withdrawal.

According to Vučević, the troops are being relocated back to their respective garrisons, barracks, and regular duties.

He firmly denied any allegations suggesting that Serbia was preparing to take any offensive actions, such as assembling units or training groups involved in the recent conflict in Banjska, located in north Kosovo.

The United States had urged Serbia on September 29 to withdraw its troops from the Kosovo border.

On October 3, the White House announced that Serbia had initiated the withdrawal of its forces from the Kosovo border, which was seen as a positive development.

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby noted that while this move would help alleviate tensions, it might not completely eliminate them.

The deployment of Serbian troops along the Kosovo border began following an armed group’s attack on the Kosovo Police in Banjska on September 24.

The incident resulted in the tragic death of a Kosovo Police officer, Afrim Bunjaku, and three Serbian attackers were also killed in the ensuing exchange of fire.

On September 29, Milan Radojičić claimed responsibility for organizing and executing the attack in Banjska.

On the same day, he resigned from his position as deputy leader of the Serb List, the largest party representing Serbs in Kosovo and backed by the official Belgrade.

Radojičić was subsequently detained by Serbian authorities for 48 hours on October 3, but was released in the morning of October 4.

He faces accusations of procuring weapons, ammunition, and high-powered explosive devices from Tuzla in Bosnia and Herzegovina, spanning from January 2023 until September 24.

It’s worth noting that Radojičić vehemently denies involvement in these alleged crimes.