PRISTINA - In the early hours of 12 June 1999 contingents from many countries entered Kosovo under the insignia of KFOR and started the NATO-led mission that marks today its 21st anniversary.
Kosovo entered in a new period of peace and development also thanks to KFOR's contribution to a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all citizens in Kosovo, regardless of their ethnicity. The dramatic improvement of the security on the ground has led to a progressive reduction of KFOR's size from 55,000 in 1999 to about 3,500 at the present time. Soldiers from twenty-seven countries under Italian Major General Michele Risi's command constitute a strong, credible and deterrent force and are now displaying the same spirit, commitment and enthusiasm of their predecessors.
KFOR's mission remains unchanged while it remains an indispensable stabilization factor for Kosovo's future and for regional security. "I firmly believe that a stable situation from the perspective of security is the necessary condition for dialogue and cooperation. KFOR will keep giving its contribution to bridge the situation towards a brighter future for the youngest generations of Kosovo", stated General Risi on the occasion of the anniversary of KFOR.
KFOR has also supported responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in different ways, including the donation of significant quantities of personal protection equipment and by facilitating with deliveries of bilateral support from Allied countries contributing troops to KFOR - such as for instance, Austria, Italy, Poland and the United States – to many Kosovar municipalities. KFOR's ability to conduct operations on a daily basis has not been undermined by the virus, and its troops have kept patrolling and its liaison and monitoring teams have continued to perform their activities, whilst taking all preventive measures in accordance with the guidance from the World Health Organization.