Russia has accused Kosovo of being provocative and “aggravating interethnic relations” following the designation of a Russian UN diplomat as persona non grata.

On 31 December, a Russian diplomat with the UNMIK was earmarked for expulsion and designated non grata over alleged “harmful activity” by the foreign minister upon request of Prime Minister Albin Kurti.

On Tuesday evening, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova called on the UN to respond adequately and ensure the individual’s safety. She then accused Kosovo of pulling a “stunt” and called Russia’s interests in the Balkans “constructive.”

“We consider Pristina’s another stunt as a continuation of the provocative line for aggravation of interethnic relations in the province, discrediting the world organisation and, last but not least, Russia’s constructive role in the Balkans. The Kosovo authorities are determined to get rid of those who can objectively record Pristina’s destructive policy in the region’s Serb-populated areas,” she said.

UNMIK, where the unnamed individual worked, was set up in 1999 following the end of the Kosovo-Serbia war to provide interim administration. Following Kosovo’s independence, UNMIK focuses on stability, security, and human rights.

Two other Russian diplomats were expelled from the country in October 2021 over “destabilising activities.”

Zakharova added in her statement that Russian condemns any attempts to limit the UN’s mission or “squeeze it out of Kosovo by taking aggressive steps that run counter to the spirit and letter of UN Security Council Resolution 1244.”

She called on the international community to respond in line with the UN’s impartial approach to peace and security.