Russia’s aggressive policy in Ukraine appears to be fueling hostilities among its potential allies, Serbia and China.

Serbia is ready for the “denazification of the Balkans,” while China has issued military threats against U.S. officials visiting Taiwan.

Developments in Serbia and Kosovo

Serbia is the only country seeking European Union (EU) membership that has unanimously refused to impose sanctions against Russia. Its capital, Belgrade, is the only European capital where thousands of marches are taking place in support of Vladimir Putin and Russia.

In Kosovo on July 31, tensions rose between the leadership of the partially-recognized republic and the Serbian community. Shots and sirens could be heard in border areas all evening. Kosovo special forces have left their bases to head for the border.

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By the evening, sirens sounded in areas of Kosovo that are home to Serbs, who started to build barricades. Residents of North Mitrovica began to gather in the city center and Albanians took to the streets en masse in the southern part of the city.

Kosovo Serbs disagree with the new rules proposed by Kosovo’s capital Pristina. At midnight on August 1, the Kosovo authorities planned to closed entry to citizens with documents issued by Serbia; as well as to re-register all cars so that they bear Kosovo license plates.

Serbian MP Vladimir Djukanovic wrote on Twitter that “Serbia will be forced to start a denazification of the Balkans.”

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As clashes erupted, Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti sent armed special forces to the Yarinje border crossing. According to the Serbian newspaper Vecherniye Novosti, Kosovo Police Special Forces (ROSU) have moved out of Pristina to the north of Kosovo and Metohija, where the Serbs are protesting.

The publication clarified that in the city of Slatina between Yarin and Leposachiv, where people erected barricades, one person was injured and hospitalized.

The Serbian army has not yet entered the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, Vecherniye Novosti reports with reference to the Serbian Ministry of Defense. At the same time, Serb protesters opened fire on the Kosovo police, the Kosovo security forces reported on social media.

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The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the Republic of Kosovo, the U.S., and the EU “behind it” to respect the rights of Serbs in the republic.

On August 1, the government of Kosovo postponed for a month, until September 1, the introduction of a ban on Serbian documents and car numbers plates.

Growing Chinese Aggression

China did not official declare support for Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine but continues trade and cooperation with Russia.

Meanwhile, Chinese media supports Russia’s narrative that Russia’s actions were supposedly provoked by NATO expansion yet evasively speaks out for world peace.

However, China appears to be avoiding actions that could get the country into trouble for helping Russia to circumvent sanctions.

Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine sets a precedent for a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan, which China claims as its territory.

On June 10, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe, during a meeting with Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin, said that Beijing “will not hesitate to go to war” if Taiwan declares independence.

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On July 29, the Army of China began military exercises off the coast of eastern Fujian province, located across the strait 120 kilometers from Taiwan, according to the Pingtan City Maritime Security Administration. The military exercises started on the day of a potential visit by Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

Later, the Chinese Ministry of Defense made its position clear about the nature of the response: “If the U.S. insists on its course, the Chinese military will never sit idly by,” the department said.

Later, Beijing’s rhetoric towards Washington became tougher. The Financial Times, citing sources, said China privately warned the Biden administration about the possible military implications of Pelosi’s decision to visit Taiwan. These threats were more significant than those that came from the Chinese side earlier.

Publicly, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that the responsibility for the consequences of Pelosi’s visit would lie with the U.S.

Pelosi began her visit to Asia on July 30, although her exact itinerary – including whether or not she will visit Taiwan despite China’s opposition – is not yet known.

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