Hundreds of British troops head to Kosovo as Serbian army mass on border

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed 200 of the 1st Battalion of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment will arrive in Kosovo over the next few days.

They will join NATO’s peacekeeping operation.

Around 400 British troops are already in Kosovo on an annual exercise.

A deadly siege at a monastery in northern Kosovo, with masked gunmen and local police engaging in a standoff last weekend led to the local authorities requesting international support.

The assailants barricaded themselves inside with priests and visiting pilgrims – and an officer was killed along with three of the gunmen in a 12-hour shootout.

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Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, Chief of the Defence Staff, said: “The deployment of the 1st Battalion of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment demonstrates the responsiveness of the UK’s Armed Forces. We continue to be a fundamental part of the NATO alliance, sharing our military expertise and strength.

“The extension of our support to the Kosovo Force (KFOR) underlines our unwavering commitment to NATO and the security of the Western Balkans region”.

In May, Armed Forces Minister James Heappey announced the UK’s contribution to the Nato Kosovo Force (KFOR) Mission in Kosovo will continue until at least 2026.

The UK has been a key contributor to the UN-mandated Nato force since it first entered Kosovo as a peacekeeping force in 1999 to bring peace and stability following the conflict of the 1990s.

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Approximately 4,000 KFOR troops from 28 countries provide a safe and secure environment for the entire population.

It is one of the worst incidents since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, with the White House National Security Council claiming it was a “well-coordinated and planned” attack.

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti has accused Serbia of orchestrating the attack – allegations that have been denied.

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