Serbia Seeks Troop Deployment in Kosovo

Belgrade formally asked NATO if its troops could return to northern Kosovo, a request unlikely to be granted

Serbia has formally asked NATO if it can deploy up to 1,000 troops into northern Kosovo, where Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic says ethnic Serbs are being “terrorized” by the Kosovo government based in Pristina.

Vucic made the request to the commander of NATO forces in Kosovo, known as KFOR. Serbian officials say that a UN resolution that formally ended the Kosovo war allows for the deployment of up to 1,000 Serbian troops into Kosovo, but Vucic still doesn’t expect the request to be granted.

“The request says that a certain number of (Serbian troops), from one hundred to up to 1,000, return to Kosovo,” he said.

Tensions have been high in northern Kosovo since the summer when Pristina tried to implement a policy that would require ethnic Serbs to acquire license plates issued by Kosovo. Serbs in the area don’t recognize the government in Pristina and still use Belgrade-issued documents to cross the border.

Serbia and Kosovo failed to reach a deal in talks back in November, as Pristina wants any agreement to involve recognition from Belgrade. According to RT, Serbs have barricaded border crossings between Serbia and Kosovo to protest the deployment of ethnic Albanian police in the area.

Serbia wants to deploy troops to secure the border crossings and says NATO forces cannot protect the Kosovo Serbs from ethnic Albanians. KFOR previously threatened to intervene if “stability is jeopardized” in northern Kosovo when tensions were high over the summer and would likely take action if Serbia went ahead with the troop deployment.

KFOR has been present in the breakaway former Serbian province of Kosovo since the US and NATO 1999 bombing campaign against Serbia. Kosovo formally declared its independence in 2008, but it’s not recognized by enough countries to have a seat at the UN. Currently, there are about 3,700 NATO troops deployed under the KFOR mission, including over 600 US troops.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.