NATO will send 700 more troops to northern Kosovo to help quell violent protests after clashes with ethnic Serbs there left 30 international soldiers wounded, the alliance announced Tuesday.
The latest violence in the region has stirred fear of a renewal of the 1998-99 conflict in Kosovo that claimed more than 10,000 lives, left more than 1 million people homeless and resulted in a NATO peacekeeping mission that has lasted nearly a quarter of a century.
The clashes grew out of a confrontation that unfolded last week after ethnic Albanian officials elected in votes overwhelmingly boycotted by Serbs entered municipal buildings to take office. When Serbs tried to block them, Kosovo police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd.
More violence followed on Monday when Serbs clashed with police and NATO peacekeepers.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said an additional reserve battalion would be put on high readiness in case additional troops are needed.
“These are prudent steps,” said Stoltenberg, who made the announcement in Oslo after talks with the Norwegian prime minister.