Vucic claims Kosovo is ethnically cleansing Serbs

Vučić underscored that the project was important for the countries involved and that they needed to continue “taking care of each other.” These countries also have a deep debt to the EU, which financed a large part of the project, he added. [EPA-EFE/ANDREJ CUKIC]

The arrests of two Kosovo Serb officials over corruption charges prompted Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to claim the government of Kosovo is ethnically cleansing Serbs from the country.

Kosovo police arrested a customs officer and a former police officer suspected of having helped the former mayor to accept bribes for issuing illegal construction permits in the Sharr mountain in the southern Serb-majority municipality.

Operations started in December 2021 with arrests of ten people of both Albanian and Serbian ethnicity, including former mayor Bratislav Nikolic. Nikolic faces charges of accepting more than €1.3 million in bribes in exchange for at least 22 illegal construction permits.

This week’s arrests of two more former officials suspected of corruption related to the same case prompted Vucic to claim that the government of Kosovo is conducting ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Kosovo.

“Their goal is to clean the Sirinić parish so that Serbs could not stay in the south of Kosovo. And all that is hidden behind the false concern for honesty in the management of Brezovica,” Vucic told reporters.

He slammed the international community for not defending Serbs’ rights in Kosovo: “Should we expect someone to say something in Serbs’ defence? Don’t be naive and expect something like that.”

This is not the first time Serbia has accused the Kosovo government of ethnic cleansing. Similar accusations are waged after every police operation that includes Kosovo Serbs as suspects.

Serbia waged a brutal war against Kosovo during 1998-1999, killing over 8,600 civilians, of which 1,600 are still missing, and displacing nearly 1.5 million or 90% of the Albanian population.

Belgrade is also accused of ethnically cleansing Albanians in the Presevo Valley part of southern Serbia. Thousands of citizens have been removed from the electoral roll and have been rendered essentially stateless over the last decade.


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