PRISTINA, Kosovo — Kosovo's prime minister on Friday welcomed a NATO decision to bolster its troops in the volatile Balkan region, saying last weekend's shootout that left four people dead illustrates Serbia's attempts to destabilize its former province with the help of ally Russia.
“These people want to turn back time,” Prime Minister Albin Kurti told The Associated Press. “They are in search of a time machine. They want to turn the clock back by 30 years. But that is not going to happen.”
Kosovo police on Friday raided several locations in a Serb-dominated area of the country's north, where weekend violence left one Kosovo police officer and three Serb insurgents dead and further strained relations between Serbia and its former province.
Kosovo police said in a statement that they were conducting searches at five locations in three municipalities. The operation was connected to a Sunday shootout between Serb insurgents and police officers in the village of Banjska in northern Kosovo.
The confrontation was one of the worst since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, with Belgrade refusing to recognize the split. NATO, which leads the KFOR peacekeeping force in Kosovo, announced Friday that it would beef up its presence.