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US European Command Head Says Strong NATO Presence in Kosovo Needed

© AFP 2023 / ARMEND NIMANI Members of the Kosovo Security Force, (KSF) (File)
Members of the Kosovo Security Force, (KSF) (File) - Sputnik International
A stronger NATO presence in Kosovo is necessary in order to deter Russia in the Balkans, US European Command head Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti said in a testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — When asked by Senator Jodi Ernst of Iowa if he agreed that a more robust NATO presence was needed in Kosovo to deter Russia in the Balkans, Scaparrotti said, "Yes, Senator, I do."

Scaparrotti continued, "We should not reduce our force size, particularly the Kosovo security force because it’s kind of the bedrock of stability right now, but we do need a much more robust diplomatic informational effort among the alliance there."

Members of the Kosovo Security Force take part in a field exercise in the village of Nashec near the town of Prizren on October 27, 2016 - Sputnik International
Kosovo is Being Assisted in Creating a National Army: By Whom and Why?
In a meeting on Tuesday, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis discussed ways to enhance NATO's mission in Kosovo with the alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Albanians in Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in February of 2008 after a US-led NATO 78-day campaign to bomb the then Yugoslavia (consisting of Serbia and Montenegro) in 1999. Since, the United States established in Kosovo Camp Bondsteel, one of its largest military bases abroad.

More recently, Kosovo has been beset with corruption, organized crime and Islamic extremism, and has continued to serve as staging grounds for Albanian radicals in Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and elsewhere in the region in their attempts to form Greater Albania, according to published reports.

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