"Defender 23" in Kosovo, how the largest military exercise that was canceled today started
May 21 was a historic date for Kosovo because the opening ceremony was held to welcome the military exercise 'Defender 23', the NATO military exercise that brings together several military units of the organization.
During the ceremony, Prime Minister Albin Kurti considered the day as historic and emphasized that this is the biggest military training event that has ever happened in Kosovo. In the Defender exercise, it was the second time for Kosovo to participate, while this year it ranked fourth in terms of the size of the army participating in the exercise.
Like Kurti, the President of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani has called this a great day, stressing that the exercises of the KSF are historic, since it is the youngest army in the world. Speaking about the journey of the Kosovo army, the President also thanked the USA for the support it has given to the KSF. Osmani also mentioned the fact that Kosovo with this exercise strengthens the determination of the country to maintain peace in the world.
Also present at the ceremony was the American envoy to Kosovo, Jeffrey Hovenier, who emphasized that he is amazed by the progress of the Kosovo army, 4 years after its formation. Hovenier has said that one of the purposes of the "Defender 23" is to show the capabilities of the military forces of the US and NATO allies, to land quickly to secure the allies.
But what happened?
Defender 2023 in Kosovo should have lasted 11 days in total, but only after 9 days it seems to have come to an end. This after the tense situation in the north of Kosovo and the decision of the Prime Minister Albin Kurti that the elected mayors of the four municipalities in the north enter the buildings of the municipalities to continue the work, has brought dissatisfaction to the USA. Ambassador Hovenier, who previously announced the holding of 'Defender 23' in Kosovo, today announced that this exercise will no longer be held due to the dissatisfaction of the USA with Kosovo. But that's not all, as Hovenier emphasized that penalties and other measures will be taken if Kosovo continues tensions in the same way and does not take any decision to de-tension the situation in the north.
How is the situation in the north of Kosovo?
Today, Serbian citizens protested again in the north of Kosovo to prevent the entry of new Albanian mayors into the headquarters of the municipalities in the north of Zubin Potok, Zveçan and Leposavič. The protest started without incident, while KFOR and the Kosovo Police have set up security barricades around state buildings to avoid escalation of the situation. Meanwhile, the mayors have announced that due to the situation, they will not appear in the work offices today. KFOR has called for the reduction of tensions by the two sides of the Kosovo-Serbia conflict, while it has demanded that responsibility be held for the wounded soldiers. The event is in progress.