Migrants from Switzerland stranded at the Serbian border
Are Russian mercenaries active on the Kosovo border?
War in Ukraine followed by tensions in the Western Balkans. Apparently there are Russian Wagner mercenaries in Serbia. Wagner opened a “cultural center” in Belgrade. Travelers from Switzerland are apparently prevented from entering Kosovo by such mercenaries.
Merdare is the largest and most important border crossing between Kosovo and Serbia.
Daniel KestenholzEditor night duty
Russian mercenaries are deployed in Syria, in African countries and now on the front lines in Ukraine to fight for Moscow’s interests. On December 2, the Russian mercenary group Wagner announced on Telegram that they would also open a “cultural center” in Belgrade. The head of the Serbian center is a certain Alexander Lisov, Wagner said in the statement.
Pristina blacklisted this Lisov back in 2017. It was this Lisov who registered the Wagner paramilitary group in St. Petersburg as a non-profit organization in 2017, Balkan Insights writes on Facebook. Höhnisch, Wagner wrote in the Telegram message of December 2: “Due to his charitable activities, the authorities in Pristina put Lisov in 2017 on the list of people who are prohibited from entering the territory of the unrecognized ‘Republic of Kosovo’. »
A Wagner center in Belgrade and a precautionary ban on entering Kosovo for the center’s Russian director: around ten months after Russia invaded Ukraine, Serbian provocations are again causing tension in the western Balkans. On Sunday, Belgrade ordered the army chief to the border with Kosovo, and on Monday, Belgrade put the armed forces on “highest combat readiness”. Which fuels speculation that Serbia is the extended arm of Russian President Vladimir Putin (70) and that the Kremlin has a hand in the newly flared up tensions between Serbia and Kosovo.
«Threatened, insulted and abused by Russian mercenaries»
The same Russian mercenaries in Serbia are apparently now also threatening travelers from Switzerland who are stranded because of the tensions in Serbia and border closures. As the Albanian information portal “Le Canton 27”, published in Switzerland, reports, “thousands of emigrants from Switzerland are stuck in Serbia, who are making their way to Kosovo for the holidays at the end of the year”. A local correspondent speaks of “armoured” barricades. The travelers were “threatened, insulted and abused by Serbian gangs and Russian mercenaries – including drunks. They keep knives and guns in front of children.”
“Le Canton 27” clearly represents Pristina’s point of view, but is not considered a source of false reports. The border crossing is Merdare, the main border crossing between Serbia and Kosovo. Affected travelers would apparently seek help from the Swiss Embassy in Belgrade. Travelers are encouraged to use other border crossings into Kosovo that are still open.
As the Serbian portal “Danas” reports on Wednesday night, several groups blocked the border crossing on the Serbian side with heavy vehicles. According to “Le Canton 27”, the “government of Kosovo and the police are busy removing barricades set up by a Serbian and Russian Wagner group”. (kes)