Kosovo PM Albin Kurti says "we will respond to aggression with all the strength we have" after Serbian leader Aleksandar Vucic says he will ask NATO to deploy Serbian forces in Kosovo's volatile north.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has said that Belgrade will officially request NATO's peacekeepers, known as KFOR, to let it deploy the Serbian army and police in Kosovo's north, in accordance with a UN resolution.
It comes as Kosovo authorities said on Saturday that in three incidents, shots were fired from different locations at police units that were on official duty near northern towns.
Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti, responding to Vucic, said Kosovo will respond to aggression.
"We don't want conflict, we want peace and progress, but we will respond to aggression with all the strength we have," Kurti said.
Vucic in his address to the nation read a part from Resolution 1244, which states that Serbia has the right to deploy up to 1,000 members of its security forces in Kosovo.
"We have agreed on a text in which, in accordance with Resolution 1244, we will send a request to the KFOR commander to ensure the deployment of members of the army and police on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, the decision will be made on Monday or Tuesday," he said.
Vucic added that he was sure the request might be rejected, but Serbia has the right to do so according to the UN resolution.
Kosovo, predominantly inhabited by Albanians, broke from Serbia in 1999 and declared independence in 2008, but Serbia has not recognised the independence and sees its former province as a part of its territory.
Tensions between the two flared last month when Kosovo attempted to require ethnic Serbs to change their old car plates that date before 1999.
The decision led ethnic Serbs in Kosovo to withdraw from all central and local institutions, but late last month a deal was reached to end the dispute.
READ MORE: EU: Kosovo, Serbia agree to end car licence plate dispute
Border crossings closed
But tensions flared on Saturday when Kosovo police units near northern towns came under fire.
"Individuals from certain criminal groups who blocked several roads in the north of the country, from different locations shot at police units that were on official duty near the Gazivode lake dam, on the way to the border to the Brnjak crossing with Serbia," said police.
"Police units in self-defence were forced to respond with firearms to criminal persons/groups, who retreated and moved away in an unknown direction. Also, according to information from police units on the ground, gunshots were heard in several different locations," it said.
There is no official information about injuries or damages.
Kosovo police previously announced the closure of the two border crossings in the north with Serbia because of security reasons.
READ MORE: Serbia to step in if NATO doesn't ‘do its job’ in Kosovo
Meanwhile, Kosovo postponed snap local elections in four northern municipalities, which were due later this month, due to security concerns.
President Vjosa Osmani said the decision was taken following political consultations and the polls will now be held in April.
Earlier this week, some election centres were damaged and shooting was heard in those areas, raising fears of escalation.
Serbs make up around 120,000 of Kosovo's roughly 1.8 million population, which is overwhelmingly ethnic Albanian.
Normalising ties with Kosovo is the key condition for Serbia's EU membership bid.
READ MORE: Serbia rejects recognition of Kosovo as condition to speed up EU membership