At least 34 soldiers of NATO’s peacekeeping mission in Kosovo were injured during clashes with protesters in the northern part of the country Monday, according to the Italian defense ministry.
Tensions have risen in the past week after ethnically Albanian mayors took office in northern Kosovo, a majority Kosovo Serb area, following April elections that Kosovo Serbs had boycotted.
NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR) said the recent developments prompted them to increase their presence in northern Kosovo on Monday morning, which they later said turned violent.
The Italian defense ministry said 14 of its KFOR peacekeeping soldiers were injured when protesters threw “Molotov cocktails, with nails, firecrackers and stones inside.”
Hungarian and Moldovan soldiers were also among the injured peacekeeping troops, according to the Italian defense ministry.
“Italian and Hungarian KFOR contingent were the subject of unprovoked attacks and sustained trauma wounds with fractures and burns due to the explosion of incendiary devices,” it said, adding that KFOR medical units treated the soldiers.