In a troubling turn of events, Kosovo witnessed a violent clash in the village of Banjska, Leposavic, resulting in the death of one Kosovar police officer and another injured.
This incident on Sunday, the first of its kind in months, has raised concerns about the ongoing tensions in the region.
Prime Minister Albin Kurti attributed the violence to "masked professionals armed with heavy weapons" who opened fire on a police patrol.
He claimed that this attack had support from neighbouring Serbia, alleging that organized crime with political, financial, and logistical backing from Belgrade was behind the assault.
He added; “Organized crime, which is politically, financially and logistically supported from Belgrade, is attacking our state.
“The government of the Republic of Kosovo and its state institutions are ready and coordinated to respond to crime and criminals, terror and terrorists.”
The incident unfolded when two trucks with no license plates blocked a bridge at the entrance of the village. In response, three police units were dispatched to unblock the bridge, but they encountered heavy fire from multiple positions, including the use of different weapons, hand grenades, and bombs.
Despite the police managing to repel the attack, two officers were injured, with one succumbing to his injuries upon arrival at the hospital.
The roots of this violence can be traced back to Kosovo's decision to appoint ethnic Albanian mayors in four Serb-majority municipalities in May.
This decision ignited clashes that led to injuries among NATO peacekeeping soldiers and Serb protesters. Ethnic Albanians constitute the majority of Kosovo's population, with Serbs concentrated in the northern region near the Serbian border.
Efforts to normalise tensions between Kosovo and Serbia, led by the European Union, have faced setbacks. Talks stalled last week, with foreign policy chief Josep Borrell blaming Prime Minister Kurti for failing to establish the association of Serb-majority municipalities, a move aimed at granting them greater autonomy.
The dispute remains unresolved, despite initial approval from both Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in February, highlighting the complex political landscape in the region.