Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti on Friday accused Serbia of “organising” clashes between Serbian protesters and NATO troops, which this week left 80 injured.
Kurti told the Kosovar parliament, “The escalation of the situation on 29 May was planned, well organized and criminal. The culprit is Belgrade.”
“Serbia mobilized criminal groups to worsen the situation,” added the head of government under pressure from Western powers to defuse the situation.
Violent clashes outside the Zvečan town hall left 30 NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR) soldiers and about 50 Serb protesters injured on Monday.
The situation in the region has been tense for years, but has worsened in recent weeks due to April elections in four municipalities in which Albanian mayors were elected.
The elections conducted by the Kosovar authorities were boycotted by the Serb community, who were the majority in the region.
Albanian mayors are considered illegitimate by Serbs because they were elected with less than 3.5% of the vote.
Kosovo, a former province of Serbia, declared its independence from Belgrade in 2008 after a bloody war that ended with a US-led NATO bombing campaign in 1999.
Serbia never recognized Kosovo’s independence and encouraged the 120,000 Serbs living there to challenge the Pristina authorities. The majority of Kosovo’s 1.8 million people are Albanian.
NATO announced the sending of an additional 700 troops to Kosovo following the unrest, which Western powers initially blamed on Kosovo.
Washington, however, on Thursday urged both sides to “take immediate steps” to end tensions.
Several hundred Serbs gathered again on Friday in front of the Zvečan town hall, guarded by a large security apparatus.