The last days of May were marked by a drastic escalation in Kosovo, the territory that broke away from Serbia. It is a well-known fact that a major part of this territory is controlled by the separatist government in Pristina and ethnic Albanians, but several communities are still Serbian and align themselves with Belgrade. In the morning of May 28, special operations units of the Albanian separatists forced their entry into these Serbian communities. They said they were there to carry out some kind of a law enforcement operation. But in reality the operation turned out to be a brutal beating and bullying of local residents. Moreover, an officer of the UN Mission in Kosovo, Russian diplomat Mikhail Krasnoshchyokov, was beaten up. Such a conduct with regard to a person enjoying diplomatic immunities is a blatant violation of the international law. Luckily, Krasnoshchyokov has already been released and taken to hospital.
The NATO Mission in Kosovo (KFOR) took a neutral position, hypocritically agreeing to Pristina's theory that the Albanian aggression had been kind-hearted. Serbian President Vucic said he was ready to use armed forces to protect Kosovo Serbs. This position got sympathy and understanding from Moscow. Moreover, Chairmen of the Federation Council's Committee on Foreign Affairs Konstantin Kosachyov allowed for possible Russia's assistance to Belgrade: "Once again the Serbian authorities will have to clean up consequences of the West's mistakes [tearing Kosovo off Serbia and creating a monoethnic criminal quasi-state]. But I don't rule out that together with the Russian authorities, if we receive a relevant request."
At the same time, Vucic addressed the Serbian people and politicians with a far less encouraging statement: "And it is time to choose between the sweet lie and bitter truth… we finally admit what it is that happened to us and to draw the conclusions without concealing from ourselves that we were inflicted a massive national defeat in every sense of that word. We have lost a part of the controlled territories, a huge number of people, while the economic losses cannot be even summed up or counted… I told everyone back then and I am saying this today as well: there is no Serbia, no authorities of ours in Kosovo and Metohija, except substantially in the areas of healthcare and education. We should stop deceiving our own public… I think it is important for the people to know that a frozen conflict cannot be our solution… It is important that we reach peace and agreement with Albanians."
In fact, Vucic recognized that Serbia lacked its own forces, be they even cushioned by Russia's sympathy and some understanding on behalf of "old" Europe, to counter pushy ambitions of the USA in pursuing its Kosovar strategy. Washington, by eliminating the last barrier to internationally formalizing Kosovo's independence and tying Pristina to "mainland" Albania even so far without its formal inclusion, will get a secure, fierce, and boundlessly loyal policeman. His mission is to supervise local Slavic member countries of NATO, block any slightest attempt at geopolitical or geoeconomic multivectoral policies, put barriers to Russia's activities in the region (including in the energy sphere) and let unambiguously know to European elites that their position in their own southern underbelly is secondary. Furthermore, Kosovo may become at any moment a bed for creating an artificial regional and even extra-regional crises based on drug trafficking and Islamism. Finally, the symbolic aspect is very important as well – the Americans again show that they accomplish their plans.
In some way, the Serbian leader has found himself in a position of de Gaulle, when French patriots pinned hopes on a victorious solution of the Algerian crisis after he returned to power in 1958. Algeria that legally was a French territory and mentally the French perceived it as the continuation and an integral part of their home. A large part of local people there came from the metropole, while even a larger part was assimilated and loyal local tribes. A significant part of the French people believed that it was not a colonial war but truly a war for the country's integrity. However, de Gaulle having weighed risks and costs opted for the peaceful settlement and recognition of Algeria's independence, causing wrath of people who wanted to fight the war till the victorious end and who believed him. Even several attempts at the general's life were made. Finally, the things ended up in the Evian Accords in 1962 that opened a path to Algeria's sovereignty. However, by that time the majority of the French had supported the compromise as a special referendum showed.
Nevertheless, Kosovo for the Serbs in much more than Algeria for the French. It may be even more painful than the withdrawal (hopefully temporary) of Kyiv from the Russian civilization. The national Serbian identity does not just link the land of Kosovo to a rather long historic period or a historic epoch of glorious culmination of the national history which was the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. The status of this land is almost religious (Prince Lazar Hrebeljanovic and Milos Obilic, who played the main role in the 1389 events, are considered as saints by the Serbian Orthodox Church) and losing it seems unthinkable.
Meanwhile, the majority of Serbs views the refusal from the EU and NATO integration as unthinkable or at least undesirable. It seems that Vucic has bravely decided to sacrifice his own reputation and bright pages in future Serbian history textbooks in order to solve this almost unsolvable dilemma and clean other Serbs of the sins. But he wants to meet Pristina halfway on this road, primarily the transfer of still Serbian districts of Kosovo to Serbia or at least preserving their autonomous status in a new state. This option nearly got implemented last September with the mediation of the UN and the EU, but things went out of order and turned into another coil of confrontation. Pristina now doesn't want any compromise feeling unconditional support of Washington. In late April, President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci published a post on his Facebook about prospects of resolving the many-year crisis. Highlighting that "the mechanism cannot be attained without the decisive role of the USA," Thaci said that "the demand or dreams that the union of Serbian communities (municipalities), whose executive power copies the one in Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina, can be set up in the north of Kosovo will never realize. There cannot be solutions based on a two Germany pattern or even a dual sovereignty pattern." This is making Vucic's task even harder and his role in any outcome dramatic.