BELGRADE, December 30. /TASS/. Serbia has managed to avert a full-scale conflict in Kosovo and Metohija, which would have resulted in a "catastrophe with NATO," Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Friday.
"This evening I will disclose the details of how a catastrophe has been averted this time and why the Pristina authorities have opted not to go north. We could have had a catastrophe with NATO but we have managed to avoid it this time," he said,
The situation in Kosovo was aggravated dramatically on December 6, when the Kosovo police along with EULEX (European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo) patrols began to seize premises housing electoral commissions in northern Kosovo and Metohija. Local Serbs repelled the Kosovars, who fled across the Ibar River. Two days later, on December 8, around 350 Kosovo policemen in armored cars intruded into the Serb-inhabited northern Kosovo and blocked the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica. On December 10, the Kosovo police detained Dejan Pantic, a former Serbian policeman, on dubious charges. In response, the Serb population erected barricades along a highway in several locations and took to the streets in protest.
On December 26, Kosovo’s armed forces were put on high alert. In response, Serbia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Milos Vucevic and Interior Minister Bratislav Gasic said that President Vucic had ordered that the country’s armed forces and interior troops be put on alert too. The situation was stabilized on December 28.