The Minister of Defense, Ejup Maqedonci, declares that the country is in danger from the constant threats from Serbia, since the latter is supporting armed paramilitary groups.
Maqedonci says that Serbia has deployed three military brigades in the south of its territory and has established 48 operational bases along the border line with Kosovo.
In an interview for KosovaPress, he said that the European Union is reluctant to sanction Serbia for the act of aggression in Banjska of Zveçan. Furthermore, he also talks about the supply of weapons and air weapons, for which he says that the purchase of helicopters is foreseen in the period 2025-2028.
Maqedonci says that the entire development of the Kosovo Security Force is being done in accordance with NATO standards. He is optimistic that Kosovo is close to joining the largest military alliance.
“In terms of defense, in terms of preparing the defense field, we can really freely say that we are very close to NATO. However, it is known that the decision to be part of NATO is a political decision and that is related to the reluctance of some countries that do not recognize the Republic of Kosovo to support this initiative. However, I appreciate that since we have the support of our main strategic partners, the United States of America, but also other NATO countries, I consider that we will be part of NATO at a time when we will avoid or solve this problem of non-recognizing countries”, declares Maqedonci for KosovaPress.
While talking about September 24, he emphasizes that the attack in Banjska of Zveçan was supported by the state structures of Serbia. According to him, the goal was to separate that part of the territory of Kosovo. He considers that there is still a risk and threat of repetition of this case.
“We consider that the danger continues to remain present as long as the hegemonic approach of Serbia remains present in relation not only to Kosovo, but also to other neighbors. So it is the hegemonic approach that somehow directs all these activities that then endanger security and stability in the region. And to this we add the support that unfortunately the state structures are giving to these paramilitary uniformed armed groups, but also because Serbia itself has deployed three out of four military brigades in the south of its territory, in order to keep the Republic of Kosovo under pressure and adding to this 48 forward operational bases have been placed along the border line with the Republic of Kosovo. Indeed, this whole situation lets us know that there is danger and our country is always under threat”, said Maqedonci.
However, the Minister of Defense promises that they have taken all the measures so that the country is ready to face these threats, in coordination with KFOR and other partners.
The introduction of weapons by Serbian terrorists in Kosovo, Maqedonci says it has been done in the last two years. According to him, it is impossible for KFOR to control the entire border area with Serbia.
“I appreciate that KFOR in its mandate has the maintenance of peace and stability and in this aspect it is performing and has performed its duties. Normally, the entire 381-kilometer border with the Republic of Serbia is impossible to control and observe. And these groups have not only exploited that territory in the last two years to supply it with equipment and weapon systems. I consider that the supply was made much earlier, given the existence of parallel structures in the north of the country for a long time and the existence of organized groups such as the ‘Civil Defense’ and the ‘Northern Brigade’ that have already been declared terrorist organizations by the Government of Kosovo. Their existence for a long time and the supply I do not think that it was done in a short term, it was done for several years in a row”, he said.
Despite the act of aggression, where Sergeant Afrim Bunjaku was killed, the European Union has not sanctioned Serbia. Maqedonci considers that bloc countries are reluctant to act.
In the interview for KosovaPress, Maqedonci also mentions the “Defender Europe” exercise, where he declares that the Kosovo Security Force will be the host of the largest international military exercise.
At the beginning of last year, the first infantry regiment was validated to carry out combat duties. This year, the second regiment will be validated, as well as during 2025, within the “Defender Europe 25” exercise, which will conclude the second phase of the transition of the Force.
Minister Maqedonci also talks about the supply of air capacity, where he shows when Kosovo will have a helicopter.
Regarding the supply of weapons, Maqedonci says that they are ahead of schedule and that they have been equipped with the most modern systems for building a professional army.
He declares that the priority remains the construction of capacities for the defense of the country and military capacities to support civil authorities.
In the interview for KosovaPress, Maqedonci also talks about international cooperation and joint activities.
Maqedonci highlights the operationalization and work of the National Search and Rescue Center, which is part of the national guard of the KSF, as an achievement of the past year.