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NATO Warns Kosovo Not to Use Bayraktar UAVs

NATO Warns Kosovo Not to Use Bayraktar UAVs

According to local media, the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo made a statement on Monday, a day after Prime Minister Albin Kurtin announced the purchase of TB-2 Bayraktar drones. "Regarding the use of all categories of drones and the corresponding limitations, including those regarding the TB-2 Bayraktar, the KFOR command has the main authority over the airspace of Kosovo," the statement quoted by AFP, according to Agerpres states. NATO KFOR said, "The upper airspace of Kosovo can only be used to fly over Kosovo from one country to another through commercial flights; the lower airspace can be used for specific needs, case by case and according to the previous authorization by the KFOR commander. We expect the institutions in Kosovo to ensure coordination and respect the existing procedures." 

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The communiqué also states that KFOR remains fully focused on ensuring a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all Kosovo communities, following the UN mandate. Kurti published photos on Sunday that show him with the new drones on social networks. "We have added TB-2 Bayraktar drones that we bought from Turkiye to the arsenal of our army," Albin Kurti said, adding: "Kosovo is now safer and at the same time proud!". The Kosovo government wants to transform the Kosovo Security Force (KSF), an intervention force equipped with light weapons, into a 5,000-strong regular army with 3,000 reservists. But KFOR, present in the country since the 1998-99 war, remains the main institution responsible for the country's security, with 4,500 soldiers from 27 countries. China and Russia have refused to recognize Kosovo's independence. Tensions remain high in Kosovo after months of unrest in the northern Serb-majority areas. More than 30 KFOR soldiers were injured during the demonstrations. Kurti is due to meet Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic later this week in Brussels, where the two sides are under strong pressure from the European Union to reduce tensions.