Some Serbian media outlets and politicians have reacted to the oxygen shortage in the northern Mitrovica hospital, blaming the Kosovo government for it. This unsubstantiated claim, unsupported by reliable sources, has been denied by the authorities in Kosovo.
Initially, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, on June 22nd, emphasized for RTS that the hospital in northern Mitrovica is experiencing an oxygen shortage.
“This means that Serbs cannot import oxygen, bread, water, or anything produced in Serbia, but you Serbs are welcome if you need to earn money for our foreign companies. We are putting pressure on our American and German goods that are being transported by Serbs. Even foreigners have no shame in boasting about such a decision. At least one million euros per day are being lost,” said Vučić.
The same complaints have also been expressed by the Director of the Clinical and Hospital Center of Mitrovica in Kosovo, Zlatan Elek. According to him, there are currently medications available in the hospital, but “the oxygen situation is alarming.” He further added that “the government in Pristina, led by Albin Kurti, contests everything they have agreed upon in Brussels.”
“Oxygen is necessary for operating rooms, for the delivery of babies, in short, for the normal functioning of our institution. So, in the event of a halt in the supply of oxygen from central Serbia, we are simply facing a humanitarian disaster,” declared Elek.
However, all of this was debunked by the Ministry of Health of Kosovo through a media statement, which notes that the statements made by Serbian representatives regarding oxygen supply are baseless.
“Yesterday, the Ministry of Health received notification that a shipment of oxygen supply is being sent to the Republic of Kosovo, and upon receiving this notification, we have contacted the Ministry of Internal Affairs to facilitate the conditions for the transportation of such a shipment,” the statement reads.
According to the Ministry of Health, the oxygen shipment has been successfully received in Kosovo and distributed to the respective hospitals. The statement emphasizes that health and humanitarian matters have never been compromised, regardless of the political situation.
This baseless claim by Serbian media and politicians arises at a time when the situation in northern Kosovo remains tense due to the appointment of Albanian mayors to local institutions. In previous cases, the same media outlets have speculated about the alleged risk of a humanitarian crisis in the north as a result of political developments.
*This article is published as part of the Western Balkans Regional Initiative against disinformation. Western Balkans Anti-Disinformation Hub: exposing malign influences through watchdog journalism.