Albania expels Russian diplomat for breaching coronavirus guidelines

Albania expels Russian diplomat for breaching coronavirus guidelines

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 AP cited the statement as saying.

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

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.

According to Johns Hopkins University, Albania has recorded more than 69,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 1,200 deaths.