Serbian Defense Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said on Thursday that the fact that part of the military is on full alert along the border with Kosovo is not a provocation.
Speaking during a visit to Army of Serbia (VS) units in Raska and Novi Pazar with Chief of Staff General Milan Mojsilovic, the minister said that the military is prepared to defend its people if anything puts them in danger.
A Defense Ministry press release quoted his as saying that the military has no desire to provoke, or operate outside the law and international conventions. “We want to send a message so that no one can think they can do anything to the Serbian people. We will not allow new pogroms, there will be no new Storms or similar operations,” Stefanovic said referring to wide-spread anti-Serb rioting in Kosovo and a military operation at the end of the war in Croatia.
Stefanovic said the military units in the Raska area were ordered to go on combat alert by President Aleksandar Vucic as a deterrent. “We are trying to ease tensions by talking but we are showing that we won’t keep quiet in the face of provocation,” he said.
He said that the events at the Jarinje and Brnjak crossings are part of an organized campaign and a provocation intended to force the Serbs out of Kosovo.