Pristina – AFP
Kosovo’s state television reported that two Russian ambassadors had left the country on Saturday, accusing Pristina of endangering its national security, a move that Moscow described as a “blatant provocation”.
On Friday, the Kosovo Foreign Ministry declared the two individuals “individual non-grata” on the orders of Kosovo President Fusa Osmani.
Osmani wrote on Twitter that Kosovo’s companies are “determined to fight the bad influence of the Russian Federation and its proxies in the region.”
For its part, the Russian Foreign Ministry on Saturday called the move a “blatant provocation” against Russia and its constructive role in the Balkans.
In a statement, it called on the United Nations embassy in Kosovo to ensure “necessary security and conditions” for its mission staff in Pristina.
Neither Osman nor the foreign ministry have identified the diplomats, and there are no official details of their alleged actions, which, according to Pristina, are in line with their situation.
On Saturday, Kosovo’s “RTK” radio and television showed diplomats leaving the headquarters of the Russian liaison office in Pristina after crossing the border with Serbia in their car.
The channel identified the diplomats as Denis Wenkirski and Alexei Krivoshev, and Kosovo intelligence “AKI” monitored their actions as “incompatible with their diplomatic status”.
“This is not the first time Krivoshev has been declared a non-individual,” the channel added, adding that he was expelled from Albania in January.
At the time, the Albanian Foreign Ministry said that Krivoshev had been expelled “for failing to respect repetitive anti – corona measures.”
Russia vehemently opposes Kosovo’s independence from Serbia, which was declared by the Albanian majority in 2008, and supports Belgrade in pressing for Pristina’s international recognition.
Nevertheless, Russia maintains a diplomatic presence in Pristina through the United Nations, which ruled Kosovo for a decade after the 1998-1999 war.
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