Kosovo expels two Russian diplomats for ‘national security’ reasons

Pristina – AFP
Kosovo’s state TV reported that two Russian diplomats left the country on Saturday after Pristina accused them of endangering its national security, a move Moscow described as a blatant provocation.
On Friday, the Kosovo Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared the two persons “persona non grata” on the orders of Kosovo President Fyuzza Osmani “for carrying out harmful activities that threaten national security.”
Osmani wrote on Twitter that Kosovo’s institutions were “determined to combat the malign influence of the Russian Federation and its proxies in the region.”
For its part, the Russian Foreign Ministry on Saturday considered the move a “blatant provocation” directed “against Russia and its constructive role in the Balkans.”
In a statement, it called on the United Nations Mission in Kosovo to ensure “the necessary security and conditions” for its personnel in Pristina.
Neither Osmani nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed the identity of the diplomats, and there were no official details of their alleged activities, which according to Pristina are not in line with their situation.
On Saturday, Radio and Television of Kosovo “RTK” showed pictures of the diplomats leaving the headquarters of the Russian Liaison Office in Pristina, and after crossing the border with Serbia in their car.
The channel identified the diplomats as Denis Vengirsky and Alexei Krivoshev, saying that Kosovo intelligence “AKI” had monitored their activities “incompatible with their diplomatic status”.
“This is not the first time that Krivoshev has been declared persona non grata,” the channel added, noting that he was expelled from Albania in January.
At the time, the Albanian foreign ministry said Krivoshev had been expelled for “repeatedly failing to respect anti-coronavirus measures”.
Russia strongly opposes Kosovo’s independence from Serbia, which was declared by the Albanian majority in 2008, and supports Belgrade in pressing against international recognition of Pristina.
Despite this, Russia maintains a diplomatic presence in Pristina through the United Nations mission that ruled Kosovo for a decade after the 1998-99 war.

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