Joint US, Russian Patrol Fired on Near Kosovo Border
A joint patrol of US and Russian peacekeepers exchanged fire with unidentified attackers Sunday in Kosovo near the breakaway province's frontier with a disputed region of southern Serbia, a NATO statement said.
"A KFOR (NATO's Kosovo peacekeeping force) patrol was fired upon at 1:28 PM (1228 GMT) today (Sunday)," the statement from the US-led eastern brigade of KFOR of the force said.
"The joint patrol consisted of US and Russian soldiers who returned fire and broke contact with the aggressor force. There were no injuries," it continued.
The patrol had just finished blowing up a road leading towards Kosovo's administrative frontier with Serbia and an area controlled by an ethnic Albanian separatist guerrilla force, the statement said.
KFOR has tightened the security on the boundary in recent weeks in an attempt to stop arms and reinforcements reaching the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medveda and Bujanovac (UCPMB) from sympathizers inside Kosovo.
The road, near the Kosovo village of Gornje Karacevo lead towards the village of Mahovac inside Serbia, was earlier this month in the hands of the rebels, who aim to unite the Presevo valley area of Serbia with a future independent Kosovo.
The KFOR statement did not identify the attackers who fired on the patrol, but if the attackers were UCPMB fighters it would be the first time the guerrillas have attacked the peacekeepers, and mark a significant shift in their tactics.
"These soldiers were continuing the boundary closure effort to prevent the flow of supplies and the movement of armed ethnic groups across the border," the statement said -- PRISTINA (AFP)
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