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The US asks Serbia to withdraw military troops from the border with Kosovo
The coordinator for strategic communications at the US National Security Council, John Kirby, expressed Washington's concern about, as he said, the "large deployment" of Serbian troops along the border with Kosovo.
"We will monitor the large Serbian deployment along the border with Kosovo. We call on Serbia to withdraw its forces from the border and continue to reduce tensions," Kirby said during a conversation with reporters on September 29.
Kirby was asked if this buildup of military troops near the border is a signal that Serbia is preparing for a military invasion.
"We are looking at it, we are observing it. But the purpose [of the gathering of Serbian military troops], I cannot say now," he said.
However, Kirby said the "enormity" of the massed bodies is destabilizing.
The senior US official was asked if the US knows whether Serbia and Russia are involved in the attack in Banjska and about the possibility of imposing sanctions on Belgrade.
He said that the investigations for this are continuing and "we want Serbia to participate in the investigations".
Kirby stressed the attack had "a high level of sophistication", adding that it did not appear "there was a group of people who got together and decided to do this [attack]".
He said the weapons that were found after the incident, which he said are of military grade, including grenade launchers and other weapons, are disturbing.
Kirby said that during the conversation that the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, held earlier in the day with the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vučić, he asked Serbia to reduce tensions.
Kirby said that violent incidents, such as the one in May against KFOR members, but also the one in Banjska, pose a danger not only to the security personnel of Kosovo, but also to NATO.
"This disturbing cycle of violence has worsened," he said.
The United States has strongly condemned the attack on the Kosovo Police on September 24 in Banjské i Zveçani.
The American Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has previously requested that the perpetrators of the crime "be held accountable through a transparent investigation process".
Vucic, however, earlier said that Blinken has warned of measures against Serbia.
Kosovo has said that around 30 masked and armed attackers attacked the Police in Banjska, killing Sergeant Afrim Bunjaku.
During the clashes between the armed group and the Police in the Banjska monastery, three attackers were also killed.
Kosovo has described the attack as terrorist and has requested an international investigation for Serbia, regarding its role in this attack.
Serbia has denied any involvement.
On September 29, Millan Radoicic, who said he is resigning from Lista Serbe - the main party of Serbs in Kosovo that enjoys the support of Belgrade - admitted through his lawyer that he organized and participated in the attack in Banjska.
Earlier, the authorities in Kosovo have published evidence, such as a video recorded with a drone, where Radoiçiqi was seen armed and wearing a uniform in Banjska./rel