The diplomatic row story between Kosovo and Russia brooked again in less than two weeks, following the media reports that one of the two Russian diplomats expelled by Kosovo authorities on 22 October was seen in Pristina 10 days later.
The news was instantly refuted by the Kosovo Ministry of the Foreign Affairs and Diaspora (MFAD) and the Kosovo Presidency. MFA said the alleged person featuring in a short video is none of the two officials of the Russian Liaison Office in Kosovo.
The Ministry is in favor of a fair and accurate information and is committed to avoid misinformation, the Ministry said in a public statement.
The Presidency of Kosovo also reacted following media reports that the proclaimed “non-grata” Russian official was seen in Pristina. President Vjosa Osmani’s Chief of Staff, Blerim Vela, said the official shown in media in fact is the driver of the Russian Liaison Office in Kosovo.
Misinformation: The person in the photo is the driver of the Russian Representative Office in Kosovo and not Denis Vengerskii. Officials of the Russian Representative Office have left the territory of the Republic of Kosovo within 24 hours from the persona non grata announcement”, Vela wrote on Twitter.
According to the Police, the two Russians left the territory of the Republic of Kosovo on October 23, through the border point in Merdare. The police further states that since the two Russians have not entered the Kosovo territory, while the person who has been published and appeared in the media through photos and videos, is another person (V.L.) known to security institutions in Kosovo, as an employee of the Russian office in Kosovo.
Kosovo authorities ordered the expulsion of two Russian diplomats, for the alleged “destabilizing” activities. President Vjosa Osmani announced that the two diplomats of the Russian Liaison Office in Kosovo have been declared ‘persona non grata’ and were ordered to leave the country.
She said that she asked the Vice Prime Minister, at the same time Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora (MFA), Donika Gervalla-Schwarz, to declare the two Russian officials as persona non grata “because of harmful activity that risk endangering national security and the constitutional order of the Republic of Kosovo”.
Today, the MFAD has issued the to declare these two Russian officials undesirable persons in the Republic of Kosovo and has notified the law enforcement institutions and relevant authorities for its implementation, the President announced.
President Osmani expresses the determination of the Kosovo institutions to fight against the malign influence of Russia and its satellites in the region, which, according to her, are aimed to undermine the achievements of Kosovo, the United States, NATO, and the European Union.
For this reason we will continue to closely co-operate with our American and European allies to prevent attempt for Kosovo and neighboring countries to fall prey to the Russian Federation’s ambitions to destabilize our region, she said.
It remains unclear the exact suspicious activity of these two officials that forced the authorities of Kosovo to declare them persona non-grata.
I assure the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo that our institutions will not hesitate to act if our country’s security and constitutional order is threatened, the President concludes.
The act of President Osmani speaks of the chronic distrust of Kosovo policy towards the Russian factor, but also for the possible increase of the Russian secret activity in Kosovo and the region.