Published: 10:56, May 30, 2023 | Updated: 13:55, May 30, 2023
NATO soldiers clash with Serbs in Kosovo, 50 civilians hurt
By Agencies

Kosovo riot police and KFOR (International Military Mission to Kosovo) military police secure entrance to municipal building in Zvecan, northern Kosovo on May 29, 2023, following clashes with Serb protesters demanding the removal of recently elected Albanian mayors. (PHOTO / AFP)

BELGRADE – Over 50 civilians and more than 40 NATO soldiers were injured in a clash between NATO's Kosovo Force (KFOR) and Serb protesters in front of the Zvecan municipality building in northern Kosovo on Monday, said Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic.

KFOR units were trying to disperse a group of Serbs who protested after Kosovo police took control of the administrative buildings in Zvecan and two other municipalities in majority-Serb north of Kosovo.

READ MORE: EU's Borrell: Kosovo, Serbia failed to agree on lowering tensions

"A member of ROSU (Regional Operations Support Unit of Kosovo Police), not a member of KFOR, fired several bullets in the direction of the retreating Serbs and hit (local Serb) Dragisa Galjak with two bullets. Serbs responded with stones and in other ways," Vucic said at an extraordinary press conference on Monday evening.

Kosovo's Serbs boycotted the April 23 local elections in four municipalities in north of Kosovo, which allowed ethnic Albanian parties to take control of local administrations despite a turnover of less than 3.5 percent.

Serbs from Kosovo gather to demand the removal of recently elected Albanian mayors outside municipal building in Zvecan, northern Kosovo, May 29, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)

Due to the intensification of ethnic clashes in Kosovo, Serbia has put the country's armed forces on the level of combat readiness and sent its forces along the administrative line.

ALSO READ: Serbia, Kosovo agree to implement deal normalizing ties

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Serbia rejects it and considers Kosovo its own province.