NATO-led peacekeeping troops have put up metal fences and barbed wire barriers in a northern town in Kosovo after clashes with ethnic Serbs left 30 international soldiers injured.
The barriers have been erected after hundreds of ethnic Serbs started gathering in front of the city hall in Zvecan, a northern Kosovo town 28 miles north of the capital Pristina.
NATO has decided to send 700 more troops to northern Kosovo to help quell violent protests after the clashes on Monday.
Violence initially broke out in the north of the country over the weekend after ethnic Albanian mayors were installed in Serbian-dominated areas.
They were elected in a vote overwhelmingly boycotted by Serbs.
Some in the country have since made repeated efforts to take over the offices in Zvecan, where the mayors took up their posts.
Kosovo police fired tear gas to disperse Serbs who tried to block officials from entering municipal buildings in the town last week.
This has lead to clashes with NATO-led troops that left 30 international soldiers injured.
A statement on Tuesday by the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) said 30 soldiers – 11 Italians and 19 Hungarians – “sustained multiple injuries, including fractures and burns from improvised explosive incendiary devices”.
Three Hungarian soldiers were “wounded by the use of firearms,” but their injuries were not life-threatening, the statement added.
Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vucic has said 52 ethnic Serbs have been injured in the clashes.
Meanwhile, ethnic Serbs have insisted that both ethnic Albanian mayors and Kosovo police must leave northern Kosovo.
Serbia has put its military on the highest state of alert and sent more troops to the border with the country.
A former province of Serbia, Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence is not recognised by Belgrade.
Ethnic Albanians make up most of the population of Kosovo, but the country has a restive Serbian minority in the north of the country.
NATO’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg has condemned the violence in Kosovo, saying that “such attacks are unacceptable and must stop”.
He warned that NATO troops “will take all necessary actions to maintain a safe and secure environment for all citizens in Kosovo”.
He urged both sides to take steps to de-escalate, refrain from “further irresponsible behaviour” and to return to EU-backed talks on improving relations.
Viktor Sokolov: Top Russian admiral appears in video call – after Ukraine claimed he was killed in missile strike
A top Russian admiral has appeared in a video call – a day after Ukrainian special forces claimed he had been killed in a missile strike.
Admiral Viktor Sokolov – the commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and one of Russia’s most senior naval officers – was reportedly killed in last week’s strike on the naval port of Sevastopol, according to Ukrainian officials.
The Russian Defence Ministry did not immediately respond when asked by news agencies to confirm or deny if Mr Sokolov had been killed.
However, the ministry released a video on Tuesday appearing to show Mr Sokolov attending a conference with other top Russian military officials via video link.
Mr Sokolov was not seen speaking in the footage of the conference – led by Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu.
It is not clear when the footage was filmed, though Russia’s defence ministry claimed the meeting took place on Tuesday.
Ukraine special forces said on Telegram: “Since the Russians were urgently forced to publish a response with Sokolov allegedly alive, our units are clarifying the information.”
In the video, Mr Shoigu said more than 17,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in September and that more than 2,700 weapons, including seven American Bradley fighting vehicles, had been destroyed.
Both Russia and Ukraine have at times exaggerated enemy losses in the war, while also saying little about their own losses.
Michael Clarke: It is possible Admiral Sokolov lives – but Russia needs to produce more convincing evidence
Sky News’ defence and security analyst Professor Michael Clarke says: “We’ve looked at the video, it’s not very clear and it jumps around quite a lot.
“We’ve located the person on the video who looks most like Sokolov, and it may be him, but it’s not a completely clear match.
“It could be Sokolov, looking at previous photographs of him. On the other hand, there’s still no proof that this video is really current.
“There’s a lot of evidence that Sokolov was in the building that was hit on Friday by a couple of Storm Shadow missiles.
“So it is possible that Sokolov lives. But I think the Russians would have to produce more convincing evidence than this if they want to be taken seriously on this particular issue.
“And it’s odd that producing a rather vague video and saying he’s here somewhere and leaving it to news organisations like us to try to work out who it might be is less than clear in the message they were trying to send.”
On Monday, Ukraine’s special forces claimed they had killed Mr Sokolov and 33 other officers in last week’s missile attack on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol.
“After the strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, 34 officers died, including the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet,” Ukraine’s special forces said on the Telegram messaging app.
“Another 105 occupiers were wounded. The headquarters building cannot be restored.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on Ukraine’s claim that it had killed Mr Sokolov, instead referring reporters to the defence ministry.
In a statement after the attack, the Russian defence ministry said one serviceman was missing, revising an earlier statement that the man had been killed.
Moscow-installed authorities in Sevastopol also said they were taking extra measures to address Ukraine’s increased attacks on Crimea.
The attack came after an earlier strike on Sevastopol, in which a Russian submarine and warship were damaged.
A Ukrainian and a Western source said that British Storm Shadow cruise missiles were deployed in the attack on the port of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.
Alexei Navalny: Russian opposition leader loses appeal against extra 19-year prison sentence
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has lost his appeal against a 19-year sentence added to his existing jail term.
It was imposed in August after he was convicted on six charges related to alleged extremist activity – which he denied.
The appeal was rejected by a judge in Moscow, with Mr Navalny – wearing a black prison uniform – joining by video link from prison.
Media were not allowed to witness proceedings apart from the reading of the verdict.
The 19-year sentence was imposed on top of 11 and a half years that he was already serving after being convicted of fraud and other charges.
His political movement has been outlawed and declared “extremist”, with its main players either being jailed or fleeing Russia.
President Putin makes a point of never referring to Mr Navalny by name as part of an attempt by authorities to portray him as irrelevant.
The 47-year-old politician returned to the country voluntarily in 2021 after nearly dying when he was poisoned with a nerve agent in a suspected Russian plot.
He was immediately arrested when he landed and is imprisoned in Melekhovo, about 145 miles (235 km) east of Moscow.
Mr Navalny said in the summer that he had been forced to listen to the same speech by President Putin for more than 100 days in a row.
A TV technician who worked for Mr Navalny, sentenced at the same trial in August, also had his appeal against an eight-year sentence rejected on Tuesday.
Daniel Kholodny shouted “Alexei, see you!” just before the video feed of the hearing ended, with Mr Navalny waving his hand in response.
Body of migrant found on Sangatte beach near Calais
A body of a migrant was found this morning on Sangatte beach near Calais.
The authorities confirmed she was a 24-year-old Eritrean woman.
In August, at least six people died and dozens more were rescued after a migrant boat crossing the English Channel capsized.
The incident took place off Sangatte in northern France.
A vigil was held in the port town of Folkestone for the victims as participants called for “safe routes” and “enough deaths”.
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