BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia's president on Sunday denied U.S. and other reports of a military buildup along the border with Kosovo, complaining of a “campaign of lies” against his country in the wake of a shootout a week earlier that killed four people and fueled tensions in the volatile Balkan region.
Both the United States and the European Union expressed concern earlier this week about what they said was an increased military deployment by Serbia's border with its former province, and they urged Belgrade to scale down its troop presence there.
Kosovo's government said Saturday it was monitoring the movements of the Serbian military from “three different directions.” It urged Serbia to immediately pull back its troops and demilitarize the border area.
“A campaign of lies … has been launched against our Serbia,” President Aleksandar Vucic responded in a video post on Instagram. “They have lied a lot about the presence of our military forces …. In fact, they are bothered that Serbia has what they describe as sophisticated weapons.”
Associated Press reporters traveling in the border region Sunday saw several Serbian army transport vehicles driving away toward central Serbia, a sign that the military might be scaling down its presence in the region following calls from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and others.
Tensions have soared following the violence in northern Kosovo last Sunday…