Accessibility links

Breaking News

Ethnic Serbs Knock Down Wall Dividing City In Kosovo

Controversial Wall Torn Down in Kosovo's Mitrovica
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:00:59 0:00

WATCH: Local Kosovar Serb authorities in the ethnically divided town of Mitrovica have demolished a concrete wall they had built near the Ibar River in December 2016 that they called a landslide barrier. However, the Kosovar government saw it as a provocation, and parliament voted to knock it down. The demolition was carried out on February 5, a day after an agreement was reached between the government and representatives of Kosovo's ethnic Serb minority, under co-facilitation from the European Union and the U.S. Embassy in Pristina. (RFE/RL's Balkan Service)

Ethnic Serbs in the northern Kosovo city of Mitrovica have used bulldozers to knock down a wall that divided the city and raised tensions between Kosovo and Serbia in recent days.

The action on February 5 came after an agreement between the Kosovar government and the country’s ethnic Serbian minority, aided by the U.S. Embassy and the European Union.

Kosovo's Prime Minister Isa Mustafa had threatened the local Serbs that if they did not take down the wall, his government would.

No details were immediately available on the terms of any agreement that might have been reached.

The activity was monitored by Italian Carabinieri guarding the area as part of the NATO peacekeeping force stationed in Kosovo.

The Serbs began building the wall in December.

They said it was to protect a riverside promenade from landslide, but the government in Pristina said it was an attempt to further divide the city along ethnic lines.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Serbia has not recognized it as a separate country.

The United States and most Western states are among 114 countries that recognize Kosovo's independence. Russia does not recognize Kosovo as independent.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.