PRISTINA - The number of peace-keepers wounded during yesterday’s unprovoked violence in the municipality of Zvecan is 30. 11 soldiers from the Italian contingent and 19 from the Hungarian contingent sustained multiple injuries, including fractures and burns from improvised explosive incendiary devices. Three Hungarian soldiers were wounded by the use of firearms. Their injuries are not life-threatening.
The NATO-led KFOR mission increased its presence in the four municipalities of Northern Kosovo to reduce the risk of escalation, after newly elected mayors tried to take office. KFOR troops were subsequently attacked by increasingly aggressive crowds. KFOR always operates with firmness and restraint, within strict Rules of Engagement. In this case, it responded to the unprovoked attacks of a violent and dangerous crowd, whilst carrying out its UN mandate in an impartial manner.
KFOR Mission Commander, Major General Angelo Michele Ristuccia, is personally following the development of the situation and expresses his solidarity with the NATO soldiers who were injured during the clashes and their families: “To avoid the clashes between the parties and to minimize the risk of the escalation, KFOR peace-keepers prevented threats to the lives of Kosovo Serbs and Kosovo Albanians. Both parties need to take full responsibility for what happened and prevent any further escalation, rather than hide behind false narratives.”
KFOR will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all communities in Kosovo, in accordance with its mandate based on UN Security Council Resolution 1244 of 1999