The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo declared the two persons persona non grata on the orders of the President of Kosovo, Vuza Osmani, “for carrying out harmful activities that threaten national security.”“.
Osmani wrote on Twitter that Kosovo’s institutions are “determined to combat the malign influence of the Russian Federation and its proxies in the region.”“.
The Russian Foreign Ministry considered the move a “blatant provocation” directed against Russia and its constructive role in the Balkans“.
In a statement, the United Nations mission in the former Serbian province called for ensuring “the necessary security and conditions” for the personnel of its mission 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, the Kosovo Radio and Television Channel “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” 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 that time, the Albanian Foreign Ministry said that 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..
Nevertheless, Russia maintains a diplomatic presence in Pristina through the United Nations mission that ruled Kosovo for a decade after the 1998-1999 war.