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Albania Expels Russian Diplomat, Moscow Says to Retaliate

Albania Expels Russian Diplomat, Moscow Says to Retaliate

Friday, 22 January, 2021 - 09:15
FILE PHOTO: A general view of the National Theatre in Tirana, Albania July 24, 2019. REUTERS/Florion Goga/File Photo

Russia's foreign ministry vowed on Friday to retaliate in kind against Albania for expelling a Russian diplomat, a move it said was aimed at harming bilateral relations, the RIA news agency reported.


This came after Albania on Thursday expelled a Russian diplomat for allegedly not respecting the country’s virus lockdown rules.


An Albanian foreign ministry statement declared Alexey Krivosheev “person non grata,” asking him to leave the country within 72 hours.


The ministry said that since April last year there were continuous violations from the diplomat. It said Albanian authorities first contacted the ambassador but the diplomat still persisted in breaking pandemic restrictions.


“A repeated challenging of the protective rules and steps on the pandemic, and disregarding of the concern of the Albanian state institutions related to that, cannot be justified and tolerated any more,” the statement said.


The ministry did not provide details on the alleged violations, or give the post of the diplomat, The Associated Press reported.


Albania has set an overnight curfew, mandatory use of masks indoor and outdoors and social distancing.


“We hope that such a decision ... at such a very challenging time for the globe, will be well understood from the Russian side as a necessary step to protect the health and security" of everyone in Albania, the ministry statement added.


Albania resumed diplomatic ties with Moscow in 1991, 30 years after the country's then-communist regime severed previously close relations with Russia.


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