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Kosovo expels Russian diplomat, UN says no notification – EURACTIV.com

Kosovo authorities have expelled a Russian diplomat from the country’s United Nations mission over national security concerns, according to Foreign Minister Donika Gervalla-Schwarz but the UN said they have not been notified.

The move comes at a time when neighbouring Serbia is increasing its strong ties with Russia. Following the Kosovo-Serbia war in 1998-1999 and Kosovo’s subsequent declaration of independence in 2008, relations between the two countries have been tense. Belgrade refuses to accept Kosovo’s independence and considers it a province.

“At the request of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Mr. Albin Kurti, today I issued the decision to declare a Russian UNMIK official in Kosovo persona non grata because of his harmful activity,” she said on Friday 31 December.

She made the announcement on Facebook, without naming the individual or providing further information on the incident.

UNMIK was set up in 1999 to provide administration in the interim period while the country was still a part of Kosovo. Following Kosovo’s independence, the focus of UNMIK shifted to stability, human rights, and security.,

The move comes at a time when neighbouring Serbia is increasing its strong ties with Russia. Following the Kosovo-Serbia war in 1998-1999 and Kosovo’s subsequent declaration of independence in 2008, relations between the two countries have been tense. Belgrade refuses to accept Kosovo’s independence and considers it a province.

In addition, Kosovo is also seeking to join the EU and NATO, something Russia opposes.

Two other Russian diplomats were kicked out of the country in October 2021, for ‘destabilising activities’.

Gervalla-Schwarz highlighted Kosovo’s dedication to its EU and NATO goals and reiterated the need to fight against Russian influence, which she said, aims to undermine Kosovo’s achievements.

However, a spokesperson for UN Secretary-General, Stephane Dujarric said they have not had formal notification from the authorities. Furthermore, they said that the designation of “persona non grata” cannot apply to United Nations personnel.

The statement added that “UNMIK and UN headquarters are taking appropriate measures to ensure the safety of the staff member concerned.”

(Alice Taylor | Exit.al)



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