Kosovo’s president orders 2 Russian diplomats expelled

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo has ordered the expulsion of two Russian diplomats for allegedly “endangering national security,” the Balkan country’s president said Friday, accusing Russia of trying to destabilize the region.

President Vjosa Osmani said in a statement that she asked the foreign ministry “to declare two officials of the Liaison Office of the Russian Federation in Kosovo ‘persona non grata.’”

She attributed the decision to their alleged “harmful activities that risk endangering national security and the constitutional order” of Kosovo. Osmani provided no further details.

She said the foreign ministry “has notified law enforcement institutions and relevant authorities” to implement the decision.

Osmani’s statement added that Kosovo is “determined to fight against the malign influence of (Russia) and its proxies in the region, which aim to undermine our achievements, and those of the U.S., NATO and the (European Union).”

Osmani added that Pristina would “continue to closely co-operate with our American and European allies to prevent attempts for Kosovo and neighboring countries to fall prey to (Russian) ambitions to destabilize our region.”

Kosovo was a Serbian province before it declared independence in 2008. That followed fighting in 1998-1999 between Serbian troops and ethnic Albanian separatists, which ended after a NATO air campaign against Serbian forces.

Serbia and its close ally Russia have not recognized Kosovo’s independence.

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