Kosovo to establish its own army

Kosovo's parliament has approved plans for the country to establish its own army. Belgrade voiced fears that this could pose a threat to the Serb minority there and Nato, too, had criticised the move. Some commentators warn it could reignite armed conflict between Kosovo and Serbia. Others say Belgrade has nothing to fear.

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Dzerkalo Tyzhnia (UA) /

Tensions could build up

For Dzerkalo Tyzhnia the step does not bode well:

“The creation of an independent army must be seen as part of the Kosovars' struggle for the recognition of their independence and the strengthening of the state's security. Its consequence, however, could be further mutual recriminations and threats and an escalation of tensions in the region. It is to be hoped that Pristina and Belgrade won't take any drastic steps to aggravate the situation. And hopefully the EU and Nato will be able to encourage dialogue between the two and maintain stability in the region.”

Adevărul (RO) /

Moscow won't dither

Should the conflict between Serbia and Kosovo escalate Moscow will quickly intervene, predicts analyst Cristian Unteanu in his blog with Adevărul:

“In a conflict situation between Kosovo and Serbia the orthodox Serbian minority will play a central role. ... We should take precise note of what Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said on December 13: 'We will not beat the war drum but we won't allow anyone to repress or humiliate the Serbs.' And this is the sensitive point on which Serbia can ask Russia, which according to Putin is the global defender of Orthodox interests, for help.”

Večernji list (HR) /

Nothing to fear here

A comparison between the Serbian military and the new Kosovar army shows that Belgrade has no need to worry for the time being, Večernji list writes:

“While Serbia has 40,075 active soldiers and 50,000 reservists, Kosovo's army has just 5,000 of the former and 3,000 of the latter. What's more, Serbia has bombers, attack helicopters and tanks, while so far all Kosovo has is infantry weapons, for example rifles and rocket launchers. Plus a few Land Rover Defender Jeeps, US military Humvees, Turkish Otokar Cobra troop transporters and German Marder armoured fighting vehicles it recently received.”