MOSCOW, January 22. /TASS/. The Russian embassy in Tirana has described as groundless Albania’s decision to expel a Russian diplomat for alleged violation of epidemiological measures.
"We believe that the Albanian authorities’ decision to expel a Russian diplomat is groundless. We are also surprised by the content of the Albanian Foreign Ministry’s statement for the press. Contrary to the Ministry’s claims the name of Alexey Krivosheyev was never mentioned in contacts between the Russian embassy and the Albanian Foreign Ministry. For the first and last time it was used in the Albanian Foreign Ministry’s verbal note of January 20, 2021, when Mr. Krivosheyev was declared persona non-grata. No proof of his violations of Albania’s anticovid measures was presented," the embassy said on its Facebook page.
The embassy said that at the beginning of November 2020 Krivosheyev was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. After that he was quarantined for two weeks in accordance with medical rules and reported back to work only after two negative tests for the coronavirus.
"He had no external contacts, except for visits to medical establishments for the obligatory tests," the embassy said.
"We believe that the accusations against Krivosheyev are groundless and far-fetched. In this context the Albanian side’s assurances about its intention to develop friendly relations look doubtful," the Russian embassy said.
Also, the embassy criticized Albania for promptly disclosing the name of the diplomat who was declared persona non grata.
"We draw attention to the fact that in accordance with international diplomatic practice the names of staffers of diplomatic missions who are declared personae non gratae are not disclosed to the public at large, in accordance with the obligations assumed by the host country to guarantee the personal security of diplomats and members of their families," the embassy said.
On Thursday, the Albanian television broadcaster Top Channel said the Albanian government had declared a Russian diplomat as persona non-grata for failure to observe anti-epidemic measures taken in connection with the coronavirus pandemic. The report claimed that evidence testifying to the Russian diplomat’s violations of the effective quarantine measures began to be received starting from April 2020. At the same time the Albanian Foreign Ministry said that it sought stronger friendly relations with Russia and expressed the hope that Russia would react with understanding to "this decision taken at a dramatic period for the whole world.".