The situation remains chaotic in northern Kosovo, where armed men have stormed a monastery in Bansko, while they are holding hostage 50 believers from Novi Sad, who happened to be in the monastery at the time of the armed invasion.

About 30 armed men have barricaded themselves in the monastery of Agios Stefanos in Bansko and are surrounded by the police, while gunfire is heard.

In the early afternoon, police said that “based on the latest information, one of the attackers has been killed,” without giving further details.

In his interview, Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti said he said the gunmen “are not civilians (…) but professionals, police or military who are in and around the monastery” and called on them to surrender.

NATO peacekeeping force ready to intervene

The law stipulates that the Kosovo authorities cannot intervene in Orthodox churches and monasteries without the consent of the Church. Extraordinary circumstances, such as a fire or an earthquake, are excluded.

KFOR, NATO’s peacekeeping force in Kosovo, said it was “present and ready to intervene if requested”, clarifying that the Kosovo police were responsible for managing the situation.

Syfmona with an announcement from the Diocese of Raska and Prizren, a group of pilgrims from Novi Sad and an abbot are in the monastery. For their safety, they have been locked inside after the gunmen “attacked the monastery with an armored vehicle and forced their way in.”

One Kosovar policeman was killed and another was wounded

The unrest has continued since the morning, when a Kosovar policeman was killed and a second wounded while on patrol near the border with Serbia. According to Pristina, they were attacked from various points with heavy weapons and grenades. Albin Kurti spoke of a “criminal and terrorist” attack, accusing Belgrade of providing financial and logistical support “to organized crime”.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has announced that he will speak at 20.00 tonight to “expose all the lies of Albin Kurti that is creating chaos and hell” in Kosovo.

The European Union condemned, in a post on the X platform of the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, “the horrific attack against police officers in Bansko, in northern Kosovo”, adding that “those responsible must be brought to justice”.