Russia gives it back to Albania, expels its diplomat

WION Web Team
Moscow, Russia Published: Feb 08, 2021, 08:50 PM(IST)

The St Basil's Cathedral (right) and the Kremlin's Spasskaya Tower (left) in downtown Moscow Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Last week, Moscow announced the expulsion of three diplomats from EU members Germany, Sweden and Poland for allegedly taking part in an unsanctioned demonstration in support of Kremlin's fiercest critic Alexei Navalny.

Russia has expelled yet another diplomat -- this time, from Albania, in a tit-for-tat move.

This expulsion came after one of its own embassy workers was ordered to leave the Balkan state for alleged repeat violations of coronavirus rules.

To this end, Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement that it had declared Jonida Drogu, the first secretary of the Albanian embassy in Moscow, persona non grata. She was given 72 hours to leave the country.

The decision was made in response to Albania expelling the first secretary of the Russian embassy in Tirana "under a completely contrived pretext," the statement added.

The Albanian government declared Aleksei Krivosheev “persona non grata” and required him to leave the country within 72 hours, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on January 21, citing "repeated" violations of pandemic restrictions by the diplomat since April, 2020.

The government, however, wished for friendly relations with the Russian Federation to be strengthened.

Moscow, in response, said Albania's decision was a "provocation with the aim of gaining political points" and accused Tirana of "playing along with anti-Russian forces in the West". 

Last week, Moscow announced the expulsion of three diplomats from EU members Germany, Sweden and Poland for allegedly taking part in an unsanctioned demonstration in support of Kremlin's fiercest critic Alexei Navalny.

Russia has expelled a number of diplomats -- mostly in response to the removal of its own officials -- as its relations with the West have soured following the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Also read | EU, UK and US to speak with Navalny after expulsion of diplomats in Russia

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